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AmericasCurrent

Four Democrat Muslim women make history in US elections

AmericasCurrent

Four Democrat Muslim women make history in US elections

“In 400 years of the General Assembly — the oldest legislative body in America — Virginians have never elected a Muslim woman to office.”

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The United States has some incredibly positive news coming out of elections: four Democratic Muslim women have been elected in a groundbreaking turn of events. Ghazala Hashmi has been elected to the Virginia state senate, unseating Republican incumbent Glen Sturtevant. Abrar Omeish has been elected to one of three seats on the Virginia Fairfax County School Board. Safiya Khalid has been elected to the Lewiston City Council in Maine, the first Somali-American Muslim to do so. And finally, Nadia Mohamed was elected to the St. Louis Park City Council in Minnesota, also the first Somali-American Muslim to be elected.

Ghazala Hashmi, who began campaigning for office after Trump’s horrendous Muslim Ban, is the first Muslim to be elected to Virginia’s state senate, making this a historic win. Being described as a “watershed” moment for the historically conservative Southern state, Hashmi is part of the growing hope of Americans who are ensuring Trump-backing Republicans will not be the majority in government. Writing on a blog post in April, Hashmi describes what made her take the step to run for office:

What triggered my panic was not so much the deliberate and callous way the administration sought to criminalize people and communities on the basis of their faith, but rather the casual ease with which we were now willing to accept — as legitimate legal action — this assault on our democratic values.”

In 400 years of the General Assembly — the oldest legislative body in America — Virginians have never elected a Muslim woman to office. I decided to run for the State Senate because if marginalized communities like mine don’t stand up for ourselves, we can’t expect others to do it for us.”

Hashmi now joins two other Democrat Muslim men, Ibraheem Samirah and Sam Rasoul, who currently serve in Virginia’s General Assembly.

Abrar Omeish, 24, has also made history, being the youngest woman to hold elected office in Virginia’s history, as well as being the first Muslim woman to be elected in the state alongside Hashmi. Marred by a horrendous Islamophobic campaign against her, Omeish has been open about the discrimination and hate she has faced while running for her seat. During a routine traffic stop earlier this year, Omeish also made headlines after she was pepper-sprayed and forced to remove her hijab. Speaking to HuffPost, Omeish explained:

I underestimated how much diversity and being a minority for me has shaped how I think about others. So it surprised me to see how shameless people can be in how they behave or express themselves against me.”

According to Omeish, she is also the first Libyan-American Muslim to be elected to office in US history. Omeish’s campaign stated: “Abrar’s campaign worked hard to elevate young voices and those of underserved and underrepresented communities…she strives towards facilitating a school system that believes fully in the potential of the leader in every child and believes that the investment in that child is worthwhile to matter their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status”.

In addition to Hashmi and Omeish’s historic wins, Safiya Khalid, 23, has been elected to the Lewiston City Council in Maine, the first Somali-American Muslim to do so. Despite the fact that Maine is the whitest state in the US, Khalid still managed to win with almost 70% of the vote – a truly historic win. Although the celebrations for her win have only just begun, her campaign season has been deeply marred by Islamophobic attacks.

Forced to delete her Facebook and Twitter accounts, Khalid was subject to an onslaught of hateful messages, including some that said she should be stoned, while others shared her home address as well as personal photos from when she was a young teenager. Despite these attacks, Khalid now stands as the youngest person on the city council, as well as the first Somali-American Muslim. Born in a refugee camp before coming to the US, Khalid knows only too well how important the public school systems really are. Speaking to AP News, Khalid stated:

When I came here, I didn’t know how to write my name or speak any word of English. I am who I am because of public education. Our children deserve the highest-quality education.”

Standing alongside Khalid as the first Somali-American elected is Nadia Mohamed, 23, who was elected to the St. Louis Park City Council in Minnesota. Winning 63% of the vote, Mohamed is yet another example of Americans taking back their government with representatives of diversity, tolerance, and inclusivity. Speaking to SahanJournal, Mohamed explained:

I realized how much my voice is needed…A lot of times you don’t get to have that space where you’re connecting to community members of different races and different cultures. I wanted to build that space. It just builds that connection that I was always looking for.”

First joining the St. Louis Park Multicultural Advisory Committee, Mohamed also helped teach community education classes, volunteered at the St. Louis Park High School, and hosted community iftars during Ramadan. In March of this year, her work with communities earned her the St. Louis Park Human Rights Award. Now the city council’s first Muslim and Somali-American, Mohamed stands with so many others making historic wins across the nation.

All four Muslim women remain inspiring and brilliant examples of the power of voting and what determination can look like: they represent a true reflection of what the United States is today. As Hashmi, Omeish, Khalid, and Mohamed settle into their new roles, let us hope that they continue to inspire others to run for office and get involved in a political scene that is so desperate for true representation.

Whilst you’re here…

The Muslim Vibe is a non-profit media platform aiming to inspire, inform and empower Muslims like you. Our goal is to provide a space for young Muslims to learn about their faith as well as news stories affecting them, so we can reclaim the Muslim narrative from the mainstream.

Your support will help us achieve this goal, and enable us to produce more original content. Your support can help us in the fight against Islamophobia, by building a powerful platform for young Muslims who can share their ideas, experiences and opinions for a better future.

Please consider supporting The Muslim Vibe, from as little as £1 – it will only take a minute. Thank you and Jazakallah.

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“In 400 years of the General Assembly — the oldest legislative body in America — Virginians have never elected a Muslim woman to office.”

The United States has some incredibly positive news coming out of elections: four Democratic Muslim women have been elected in a groundbreaking turn of events. Ghazala Hashmi has been elected to the Virginia state senate, unseating Republican incumbent Glen Sturtevant. Abrar Omeish has been elected to one of three seats on the Virginia Fairfax County School Board. Safiya Khalid has been elected to the Lewiston City Council in Maine, the first Somali-American Muslim to do so. And finally, Nadia Mohamed was elected to the St. Louis Park City Council in Minnesota, also the first Somali-American Muslim to be elected.

Ghazala Hashmi, who began campaigning for office after Trump’s horrendous Muslim Ban, is the first Muslim to be elected to Virginia’s state senate, making this a historic win. Being described as a “watershed” moment for the historically conservative Southern state, Hashmi is part of the growing hope of Americans who are ensuring Trump-backing Republicans will not be the majority in government. Writing on a blog post in April, Hashmi describes what made her take the step to run for office:

What triggered my panic was not so much the deliberate and callous way the administration sought to criminalize people and communities on the basis of their faith, but rather the casual ease with which we were now willing to accept — as legitimate legal action — this assault on our democratic values.”

In 400 years of the General Assembly — the oldest legislative body in America — Virginians have never elected a Muslim woman to office. I decided to run for the State Senate because if marginalized communities like mine don’t stand up for ourselves, we can’t expect others to do it for us.”

Hashmi now joins two other Democrat Muslim men, Ibraheem Samirah and Sam Rasoul, who currently serve in Virginia’s General Assembly.

Abrar Omeish, 24, has also made history, being the youngest woman to hold elected office in Virginia’s history, as well as being the first Muslim woman to be elected in the state alongside Hashmi. Marred by a horrendous Islamophobic campaign against her, Omeish has been open about the discrimination and hate she has faced while running for her seat. During a routine traffic stop earlier this year, Omeish also made headlines after she was pepper-sprayed and forced to remove her hijab. Speaking to HuffPost, Omeish explained:

I underestimated how much diversity and being a minority for me has shaped how I think about others. So it surprised me to see how shameless people can be in how they behave or express themselves against me.”

According to Omeish, she is also the first Libyan-American Muslim to be elected to office in US history. Omeish’s campaign stated: “Abrar’s campaign worked hard to elevate young voices and those of underserved and underrepresented communities…she strives towards facilitating a school system that believes fully in the potential of the leader in every child and believes that the investment in that child is worthwhile to matter their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status”.

In addition to Hashmi and Omeish’s historic wins, Safiya Khalid, 23, has been elected to the Lewiston City Council in Maine, the first Somali-American Muslim to do so. Despite the fact that Maine is the whitest state in the US, Khalid still managed to win with almost 70% of the vote – a truly historic win. Although the celebrations for her win have only just begun, her campaign season has been deeply marred by Islamophobic attacks.

Forced to delete her Facebook and Twitter accounts, Khalid was subject to an onslaught of hateful messages, including some that said she should be stoned, while others shared her home address as well as personal photos from when she was a young teenager. Despite these attacks, Khalid now stands as the youngest person on the city council, as well as the first Somali-American Muslim. Born in a refugee camp before coming to the US, Khalid knows only too well how important the public school systems really are. Speaking to AP News, Khalid stated:

When I came here, I didn’t know how to write my name or speak any word of English. I am who I am because of public education. Our children deserve the highest-quality education.”

Standing alongside Khalid as the first Somali-American elected is Nadia Mohamed, 23, who was elected to the St. Louis Park City Council in Minnesota. Winning 63% of the vote, Mohamed is yet another example of Americans taking back their government with representatives of diversity, tolerance, and inclusivity. Speaking to SahanJournal, Mohamed explained:

I realized how much my voice is needed…A lot of times you don’t get to have that space where you’re connecting to community members of different races and different cultures. I wanted to build that space. It just builds that connection that I was always looking for.”

First joining the St. Louis Park Multicultural Advisory Committee, Mohamed also helped teach community education classes, volunteered at the St. Louis Park High School, and hosted community iftars during Ramadan. In March of this year, her work with communities earned her the St. Louis Park Human Rights Award. Now the city council’s first Muslim and Somali-American, Mohamed stands with so many others making historic wins across the nation.

All four Muslim women remain inspiring and brilliant examples of the power of voting and what determination can look like: they represent a true reflection of what the United States is today. As Hashmi, Omeish, Khalid, and Mohamed settle into their new roles, let us hope that they continue to inspire others to run for office and get involved in a political scene that is so desperate for true representation.

Whilst you’re here…

The Muslim Vibe is a non-profit media platform aiming to inspire, inform and empower Muslims like you. Our goal is to provide a space for young Muslims to learn about their faith as well as news stories affecting them, so we can reclaim the Muslim narrative from the mainstream.

Your support will help us achieve this goal, and enable us to produce more original content. Your support can help us in the fight against Islamophobia, by building a powerful platform for young Muslims who can share their ideas, experiences and opinions for a better future.

Please consider supporting The Muslim Vibe, from as little as £1 – it will only take a minute. Thank you and Jazakallah.

Keep Reading

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