This year’s mid-term elections sparked massive campaigningIn office, from the first Gen Z member of Congress to the first black governor of Maryland. It also proved historic for Muslim Americans, with record-breaking community members being elected to their seats.
Republican Mehmet Oz would have been the country’s first Muslim senator if he had won his seat in Pennsylvania. But despite their defeat, 82 Muslim candidates won local, state, federal and judicial seats in 25 states, a report by the Jetpack Resource Center and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) found.
Many of those victories were in red states, including Texas, Virginia and Georgia, and involved 20 incumbents and 17 new candidates. Those seats ranged from local boards of education and city councils to the US House of Representatives, where Congressmen Ilhan Omar, D-MN, and Rashida Tlaib, D-MI, maintained their positions.
The organization said CAIR marked the highest number of election victories among Muslim Americans since it began tracking in 2020. That year, 71 Muslim Americans were elected.
CAIR’s national executive director Nihad Awad said the “historic string” of victory is a testament to the ongoing rise of our community in American politics and the confidence our neighbors have in us to represent them and fight for their interests.
“We are seeing the next step in the political transformation of the American Muslim community from marginalized voices, or worse, to decision makers,” Awhad said. “These newly elected officers are building on the success of our community’s decades-long investments in civic engagement, voter registration and running for office.”
The record-breaking numbers also brought some historic firsts. Maine, Illinois, Ohio and Texas all elected their first Muslim state legislators. Georgia now has the second largest number of Muslim state legislators in the country, its first Muslim women to have been elected to the state Senate and House.
What makes the victory all the more important is the hatred and discrimination still prevalent by the Muslim community. The Muslim Community Network found that in New York City, more than 26% of black Muslims and 32% of Asian Muslims experienced or witnessed a hate crime in India., This is an issue that many people have experienced before they became teenagers.
“Sometimes it’s kinda hard. A lot of people like to be called names and shame you for being proud of who you are,” 17-year-old Jenna told CBS Reports earlier this year. Told for a documentary. “… I’ve been called by name: ‘towel-head,’ ‘terrorist.’ In school, I certainly faced a lot of issues.”
But for him, that discrimination won’t stop him from being proud of who he is.
“From the moment pride is taken away from you, your whole everything, your existence is gone,” he said.
For Mohamed Missouri, executive director of the Jetpack Resource Center, winning is an inspiration.
“This shows that the Muslim community is building a solid infrastructure for sustained electoral success,” he said. “Policy decisions on education, housing, climate and civil rights are shaped by state legislatures and it is important that our voices are represented in the policy-making process.”