This year has been a lot of things — including groundbreaking as far as elections have gone. We are seeing more and more Muslim representation in government. Check out the Muslims who won their races and will now hold office as elected officials below.
Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib (and the rest of “The Squad”) were re-elected
All four members of “The Squad” win reelection in their congressional races Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib have all been re-elected to Congress. That means all four members of the Democratic Party’s progressive “Squad” will maintain their seats. “Our sisterhood is resilient,” Omar wrote, sharing the news on Twitter.
Five Muslim American Democrats marked historic firsts in their home states
In Oklahoma, Delaware, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Florida, respectively, newly elected Mauree Turner (@maureeturnerok), Madinah Wilson-Anton (@madinahforde), Iman Jodeh (@imanforcolorado), Samba Baldeh, and Christopher Benjamin (@cbenjaminesq) became the first Muslim lawmakers in their state legislatures.
Mauree Turner will also be the first practicing Muslim elected to the Oklahoma state legislature. Turner — a queer, Black Muslim who wears a hijab and identifies as nonbinary — won a seat Tuesday in the Oklahoma state legislature‚ becoming the first openly nonbinary state lawmaker in the country.
Democrat Madinah Wilson won 71 percent of the vote. In her campaign, Wilson-Alton highlighted that reform in the education funding system is needed to ensure that all children have access to quality education. She also said that she wants to end corporate welfare, move to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2050, and create a progressive taxation system for people in Delaware.
Iman Jodeh is a first-generation American of Palestinian origin. Jodeh announced her win in a tweet, and expressed how proud she was to be able to represent her district’s communities. “We did it! I ran to make the American dream a reality for everyone. I am a proud Muslim Palestinian American and first-generation American. And I am proud to be able to represent the communities and the people of HD41 in the Colorado state legislature. Now, let’s get to work,” she said.
Samba Baldeh defeated Republican Samuel Anderson and was declared the winner with 80 percent of the vote. He has spoken openly about his childhood in The Gambia, where he spent most of his days tending livestock and helping his nomadic parents. Baldeh’s campaign states that the main issues he is prioritising are health-care access, climate change, and building a stronger economy. Other issues include criminal justice reform, women’s rights, housing and education.
Abraham Aiyash, a Democrat of Yemeni-American origin, was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives and will assume office in January 2021 to represent District 4. Last month, Aiyash told MEE that his key focus was to bring diversity and inclusion into the political process, as well as focus on domestic issues. “Health care is going to impact us – education policy, environmental policy, too,” Aiyash said. “Hamtramck, Detroit and Dearborn have the most polluted areas of the state. They [Yemeni Americans] are not fixated only on what’s happening in Yemen. They’re very much invested in what happens in our local communities on these issues.” In his campaign, he said that his parents emigrated from Yemen and built a middle-class family in the district, which taught them the value of hard work, giving back and commitment to service.
Omar Fateh, who is of Somali descent, was elected to serve in the Minnesota State Senate for District 62. He defeated Republican candidate Bruce Lundeen, garnering 89 percent of the votes. Fateh developed his campaign and support after working for the city of Minneapolis as a community specialist, where he helped improve the city’s outreach to East African communities.
Other Muslim officials were elected in state and local races in the 2020 general election as well, such as Zohran Kwame Mamdani, the third Muslim to be elected to the NY State Assembly. Mamdani, an Indian-Ugandan New Yorker, ran for election to the New York State Assembly to represent District 36 and won on Tuesday. In his campaign, Mamdani, 29, said that he ran to ensure rights for health care, housing, child care, and political power for everyone.
Nida Allam is the first Muslim woman to be elected to office in North Carolina. Allam previously worked on Bernie Sanders’ campaign in 2016, and said she wanted to carry progressive values to Durham, North Carolina. She outlines her main priorities as fighting for accountability, high-quality education and creating inclusive communities.
Fady Qaddoura was elected Indiana state senator. Fady Qaddoura, a 44-year-old Democrat who is of Palestinian origin, became the first Muslim state senator in Indiana’s history on Tuesday, defeating rival John Ruckelshaus by 52 percent to 48 percent. As state senator, Qaddoura says he will focus his efforts on investing in education, health care, small businesses and financial stability.
Mashallah. We’re so excited to follow these newly elected officials and see the great things they accomplish.
Maliya Naz is a Kashmiri/Pakistani American poet and human rights advocate. When she is not volunteering or translating Urdu ghazals, you can find her giving talks about all things Islam and spirituality.