Elected as the first Muslim, Indian and Egyptian mayor in Cranbury Township, New Jersey, earlier this month, Eman El-Badawi wasn’t thinking about making history.
“I did not set out to be the first of anything,” she told Central Jersey. “I knew that not seeing anyone look like myself, I would be the first, at least to look like me in a hijab and clearly not of the same ethnicity as the people who have come before me.”
In the meeting held on January 2, El-Badawi was sworn in by former Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer, officially becoming the mayor of Cranbury for 2024.
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“I just set out to serve my town in a greater capacity than I had been,” she said. “So, when everybody started talking to me about, ‘Oh, you’re going to be the first Muslim, Egyptian veiled female mayor.’ There are so many things there; they lost me after the word first, and I thought, you know, it’s not for me, but [for] everyone else.”
However, El-Badawi isn’t new to making history. She first made history in Cranbury after winning a three-year term on the Township Committee in November 2021.
In 2023, she became the first Muslim, Indian, and Egyptian to serve in the role of deputy mayor.
For herself personally, her goal is to be an adequate and successful leader of Cranbury.
She said, “I never campaigned as a Muslim candidate; I never campaigned as a candidate for diversity.” “I campaigned as a Cranburyan; that is the space I enjoy and want to occupy.”