As media projects Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States, this concludes a marathon elections that saw a record number of American Muslim candidates in 2020 election cycle.
According to Jetpac, a representation-driven organization that trains American Muslims who want to run for office, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and MPower Change, the largest Muslim-led social and racial justice organization in the United States, a record number of 110 Muslim candidates were on ballots across 24 states.
The number is the highest since the three organizations started mapping the electoral progress of politicians who identify as Muslim.
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“Muslim Americans are celebrating the election of members of our community across this country – from the school boards to the halls of Congress,” said Linda Sarsour, executive director of MPower Change in a statement sent to AboutIslam.
“No matter what happens on the presidential level, we will continue to build power, engage voters and focus on down ballot races because that’s where the real impact on our lives lies.”
“Increasing our political representation is a critical part of defeating the violent rise of Islamophobia here and around the world because it forces elected officials and the media to include our perspective in the narrative on healthcare, the economy, criminal legal system, and every other issue impacting American life,” said Mohammed Missouri, executive director of Jetpac.
“I’m inspired by this new generation of Muslim political activists who are changing our community’s civic engagement through effective relational organizing to build diverse coalitions in the fight for economic and racial justice.”
Fight for Inclusion
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad believes the record number of Muslim candidates and winners is due to their determination to fight for diversity and inclusion.
“The American Muslims who ran for office and won were able to do so by building diverse coalitions that seek a just future in which every American’s civil rights are protected,” he said.
“Over the past several years, Muslim Americans have had to fight against the threat of exclusion. We now have a historic opportunity to fight for inclusion while advancing policies that promote freedom and justice.”
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Fifty-seven of the one hundred and ten candidates on November 3, 2020 ballots won or are projected to win their elections. At least seven made representation history.
- In Delaware, Madinah Wilson-Anton is the first practicing Muslim lawmaker to serve in the state’s General Assembly. Also the first Muslim to hold the local state House seat when inaugurated as the State Representative for the 26th District.
- In Wisconsin, Samba Baldeh became first the Muslim elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, and the first Black man to represent Dane County in the legislature.
- Christopher Benjamin won the race to represent the 107th District in the Florida House of Representatives, becoming the first Muslim American elected to any state office in the Sunshine State.
- Nafisa Fai became the first Muslim and first Black commissioner in Washington County history when she won her race to represent District 1 in Oregon.
- Iman Jodeh, the State Representative-elect for the 41st District in the Colorado House of Representatives, will be the first Muslim lawmaker in the state’s history.
- Fady Qaddoura became the first Muslim to win an election to the Indiana State Legislature when he won the race for the 30th District in the State Senate.
- Mauree Turner, the State Representative-elect for the Oklahoma 88th District and the first Muslim lawmaker elected to the state’s legislature.
A preliminary summary of Muslim electoral results from November 3, 2020:
- 18 ran in California, 16 in Michigan, 14 in Minnesota, and 18 in New Jersey.
- 8 were on the ballot for U.S. House of Representatives in 7 states, including incumbents Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Andre Carson who all won reelection. Mike Siegel lost a close race to represent the 10th Congressional District in Texas.
- 29 ran for municipal seats in 6 states with 12 declared winners or projected to win.
- 29 ran for state legislature seats in 18 states with 20 winning.
- 9 ran for county seats in 8 states; 6 won.
- 28 ran for school committee or board positions in 5 states with 12 winning.
- 5 ran for judiciary positions with 4 winning.