Changing the Face of American Politics

Young Muslims are coming out of their shell and running for office and local seats.

A handful of Muslims are slowly going against the tide and working their way into American politics. The anti-Islamic movement was set into motion in America after 9/11. Hate crimes and discrimination are on the rise. This situation has only gotten worse with Trump taking control. Despite all the anti-Islamic actions taken by the Trump administration, some Muslims are rising above the crowd and changing the face of American Politics, one candidate at a time.  However, chances of them winning is still low. But this scenario is not going to stay the same because the same people will fight again, but with more vigour and experience at their disposal.

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed

National media stories have compared Abdul to Obama for which he is becomes highly obliged but says that his ideologies are totally different with that of Obama’s

Dr Abdul El-Sayed 32, will become the country’s first Muslim governor if he wins in 2018. His charismatic personality , education and political skills makes him one of an own kind. He is busy catching the attention of national democrats. National media stories have compared Abdul to Obama for which he is becomes highly obliged but says that his ideologies are totally different with that of Obama’s. His campaign manager; Max Glass also told the news outlet, “The electorate (in Michigan) doesn’t know what it wants, but it wants something different.”

El-Sayed has pledged universal healthcare to all Michiganders if it wins the elections. He has also said he will push to legalise marijuana, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and make Michigan a “sanctuary state”.

Liliana Bakhtiari

Born and brought up in  Atlanta and Georgia, Liliana Bakhtiari, 29, is running for Atlanta City Council, in District 5 after making her way out from Europe to Kenya, Southeast Asia to Australia , to Central and South America. She and some of her classmates created a nonprofit to raise money for Cambodian refugees at Georgia State University. After graduation, she travelled to Southeast Asia, gathering stories from survivors of genocide and sex trafficking in countries like Thailand and Vietnam. She has worked with refugees, as well as becoming active in homeless outreach, local arts advocacy, and women’s health programs. Bakhtiari also advocates for underserved communities and serving on the board of Lost-n-Found Youth, a nonprofit that works with homeless LGBTQ youths.

She’s already received positive responses to her candidacy. An Iranian woman wrote to Bakhtiari about her daughter’s excitement at seeing a public figure who looks like her.

If she wins, Bakhtiari would be part of the most substantial political turnover in City Hall in 16 years, with seven of 15 council seats and has numerous positive plans which she wishes to fulfil all of them.

Johnny Martin

“In the interest of peace in our NEIGHBOURHOOD and in our state and in our country, we need to have people starting to building these bridges across the divide.”

Johnny Martin a 24-year-old residing in Arizona is a convert  who talks about his Muslim faith more than he would like to on the campaign trail. He is running for the state House seat in Arizona. He is the  founder of Sun Devils Are Better Together (SunDABT), ASU’s premiere interfaith student organization, is currently working as the Youth Director for the Arizona Interfaith Movement.

Martin, a Democrat, hopes to work on a wide range of issues, including raising teacher salaries in the state and banning the use of private prisons.  According to his political mindset  Martin says that “In the interest of peace in our neighbourhoods and in our state and in our country, we need to have people starting to building these bridges across the divide.”

Zainab Baloch

Zainab Baloch, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina whose parents were Pakistani immigrants is a  candidate for a Raleigh City Council . She is a state employee and UNC-Chapel Hill graduate student, who is running along with six other candidates for two of the council’s at-large seats in October 10 elections.

Her campaigning manager Lindsay Vandenbroeck said in an online video that;  “Zainab is promoting diversity and inclusion. This is unacceptable; this will not deter our campaign in any way, shape or form.” She stands firmly against the hateful rhetoric with which vandals apparently defaced her campaign sign on Louisburg Road.

Fayrouz Saad

Fayrouz Saad is a Democrat from Michigan who is running for Congress. She has worked at every level of government to keep the communities safe and to expand opportunities for families in Michigan. After completing her graduation from the University of Michigan, Fayrouz began her career as a field organizer for the Kerry Campaign working in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District. She went on to work for Michigan State Representative Gino Polidori, where she led successful efforts to reform foster care, securing unemployment benefits for military spouses and banning texting while driving. She has also worked for Detroit’s Office of Immigrant Affairs as a director under Mayor Mike Duggan and also served as the Board Chair for Emgage-USA MI – an organization she helped launch that fosters civic and electoral participation within the Muslim-American community.

Regina Mustafa

A 37-year-old community activist living in Rochester, Minnesota, Regina Mustafa has announced her candidacy for the state’s 1st congressional district.

She started a nonprofit called “Community Interfaith Dialogue on Islam”(CAIR), which  is a Hamas-tied Muslim Brotherhood front group which operates with impunity inside the United States. She credits her children, and CAIR, for being the inspiration behind her interfaith activism.  

She was always questioned for conversion of religion.

“I’ve been so used to getting anti-Muslim comments over the years, but this was the first clear-cut threat and also the nastiest,” Mustafa said.

“But about 75% of me thought, ‘Well, you knew this was going to happen and you’ve got to deal with it.’ There are people who just want to shake me out of the race, but this is exactly why I need to be in the race.”

Mustafa later withdrew from the race citing lackluster fundraising,in October 2017.

“I don’t regret a second,” Mustafa said.

“I was able to go to various parts of the state I’d never been to. For many people, I was the first Muslim they’d ever really spoken to or had a conversation with. If I’ve humanized Islam more by my presence out in the district, it was all worth it.”

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