American Muslims: Not A Passive Voting Power

US Congress

Keith Ellison made history back in 2007 as the first Muslim to be elected to the US congress, yet he didn’t stop there. Ellison became Attorney General of Minnesota in 2019.

Ilhan Omar – of Somali origin — was elected in 2019 to replace Ellison as the US Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district.

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Rashida Talib – of Palestinian origin – is the other Muslim woman in Congress. They both joined André Carson – African American – who has been in Congress since 2008 to represent Indiana’s 7th congressional district.

American Muslims: Not A Passive Voting Power - About Islam

Muslim Mayors

Down from the national to the state level, there are at least two Muslim mayors serving American cities now. Sadaf Jaffer – 37 years old – is the first female Muslim mayor in America. She is serving the city of Montgomery, New Jersey, and was elected to office in 2019. Mayor Jaffer was born in Chicago to a Pakistan-born mother and a Yemen-born father.

Sumbul Siddiqui is another female Muslim mayor elected this year to serve Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mayor Siddiqui was born in Pakistan and immigrated to the US with her parents at the age of two. 

Yet, the first Muslim mayor in American history was elected back in 1991. Charles Bilal was the first black mayor of the – back then – 70% white city of the Kountze, Texas. 

State General Assembly

At least 10 Muslims are serving/served in their state’s house of representatives or senate. Yusuf Salaam might be the first Muslim to be elected to a state house of representatives in America. Between 2002 and 2010, Rep. Salaam served in Alabama’s legislative body.

Following are some of the Muslims elected to a state general assembly:  

  • Abdullah Hammoud: Member of the House of Representatives, Michigan (2017-)
  • Ako Abdul-Samad: Member of the House of Representatives, Iowa (2007-)
  • Hodan Hassan: Member of the House of Representatives, Minnesota (2018-)
  • Christopher Benjamin: Member of the House of Representatives, Florida (2020-)
  • Ibraheem S. Samirah: Member of the House of Representatives, Virginia (2019-)
  • Iman Jodeh: Member of the House of Representatives, Colorado (2020-)
  • Jamilah Nasheed: Member of the House of Representatives, Missouri (2007-2013); Member of the State Senate, Missouri (2013-)
  • Madinah Wilson-Anton: Member of the House of Representatives, Delaware (2020-)
  • Mauree Turner: Member of the House of Representatives, Oklahoma (2020-)
  • Mohamud Noor: Member of the House of Representatives, Minnesota (2018-)
  • Movita Johnson-Harrell: Member of the House of Representatives, Pennsylvania (2009)
  • Sam Rasoul: Member of the House of Representatives, Virginia (2014-)
  • Samba Baldeh: Member of the House of Representatives, Wisconsin (2020-)
  • Sheikh Rahman: Member of the State Senate, Georgia (2019-)
  • Yusuf Salaam: Member of the House of Representatives, Alabama (2002-2010)

Other elected offices:

  • Nida Allam: Member of Durham County’s Board of Commissioners, North Carolina (2020-)
  • Shereef Elnahal: Commissioner of the Department of Health, New Jersey (2018-2019)

When it comes to the city level, there seems to be an endless list of Muslims serving on city councils. Yet the first Muslim-majority city council in the US is that of Hamtramck, Michigan. 

Wise Muslim Leadership

America is passing through a very delicate phase of its recent history. Polarization doesn’t seem to fade away any time soon; on the contrary, it might be just the beginning. This is the time where Muslims are expected to, and they surely are, show what can Muslims brings to America.

One key feature of identity maturity is to be able to understand Islam as a proactive way to improve the lives of people. Long gone should the days be where American Muslims are only concerned about defending themselves against media accusations of terrorism. 

Not only that “Muslim American voices matter,” but their actions should also matter.

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