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First Muslim Mayor in Cranbury: “I’m Grateful to Be Able to Serve This Community”

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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First Muslim Mayor in Cranbury: "I'm Grateful to Be Able to Serve This Community" - About Islam

“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.”

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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.

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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.”