Saturday, September 22, 2018 4:26:05 PM
2 Muslim Politicians Could be 1st Muslim Women in US Congress

A number of progressive Muslim Americans are competing for governmental office across the US. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have the potential to be the ‘first’ Muslim woman elected to sit in Congress.

America has 3.5m Muslims, around 1% of the population. Some say the number is closer to 5m and rising; the Census Bureau has not asked questions about religion since the 1950s, so it is hard to know for sure. Only about 100 Muslims filed papers this year to run for office.

Rashida Tlaib is running unopposed in the mid-term elections for the seat John Conyers occupied for more than half a century (until he resigned, following allegations of sexual harassment), she is all but guaranteed to become the first Muslim woman to sit in Congress.

She will probably be joined there by Ilhan Omar, a Somali immigrant who won a primary in Minnesota to fill the congressional seat of Keith Ellison, one of two Muslim men in Congress (the other is Indiana’s André Carson). Fayrouz Saad ran in the primary for Michigan’s 11th district; Deedra Abboud ran in the Arizona Senate primary; and Tahirah Amatul-Wadud ran in the primary in Massachusetts’s 1st district. Ms Saad, Ms Abboud and Ms Amatul-Wadud lost, but many predict a bright future for 34-year-old Ms Saad, the telegenic daughter of Lebanese immigrants.

All five women are progressive. “The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is the only gateway to political office for Muslims,” says Abdulkader Sinno of Indiana University. All five argue for abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which is charged with rounding-up undocumented migrants. They also want universal health care, free college and a minimum wage of $15, The Economist reported.

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