POTOMAC – Seeking a larger representation in politics, a political action committee launched a new initiative to train 30 American Muslims to run for state and local offices in Maryland and across the country in 2018.
“If we are not at the table of democracy, we may end up on the menu of authoritarianism,” Hamza Khan, a longtime Democratic activist in Montgomery County who is executive director of the Pluralism Project, told The Washington Post.
“By training Muslim candidates in the skills they need to run for and win political office, we intend to empower Muslims to take back control of their narrative in the American experience.”
Under the new Pluralism Project, Khan announced the recruitment of the 30 Maryland candidates on Monday, May 15.
Though he did not identify them or say which offices they will seek, he revealed that over half of the candidates are women, empowering Muslim women to join the political race.
The average age of candidates is 39 years old, with 95 percent of them born in the US.
Few Muslims have run for elected office in Maryland before, and most who have are men, Khan said, which is why the Pluralism Project particularly encouraged Muslim women to run.
“They are a marginalized community within a marginalized community,” he said.
The Pluralism Project is a hybrid PAC (political action committee), which means it is a blend of a traditional political action committee and a super PAC.
Hybrid PACs can raise unlimited amounts of cash to support candidates through advertisements and limited amounts of money to donate directly to candidates.
The group would focus on training candidates on giving speeches, raising money and developing a field plan.
Launching the project, the committee made use of rising interest in activism since the election of President Donald Trump, in a bid to defeat Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has said he will seek a second term in 2018.
Khan said the committee spread the word about its efforts by connecting with local mosque boards, youth groups, labor unions and progressive groups.
“We hope to keep Maryland blue and to deliver the governor’s house,” Khan said.