How American Muslims Are Trying to Take Back Their Government

Source: The Atlantic

By EMMA GREEN

CHICAGO—A weary Barack Obama stood before the nation in January and delivered a message. “If you’re disappointed by your elected officials,” he said in his farewell address, “grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.”

Mehrunisa Qayyum took the call to action personally. “I’m tired of being disappointed with my local officials,” the 30-something told me. When the local Democratic Party asked her to make a bid for Downers Grove Township trustee—“city council for the suburbs,” she explained—she decided to try running for office for the first time.

Qayyum is a progressive post-election fantasy come true. She’s a Muslim woman who’s getting civically involved in a purple district: In 2016, Downers Grove went 52 to 42 percent for Hillary Clinton, but 49 to 46 percent for Mark Kirk, the Republican U.S. senator who tried and failed to hold his seat against a challenge from Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat.

Qayyum isn’t alone. Reema Ahmad, a political consultant and organizer who works with the Muslim community, counted some three dozen Muslims running for local office in the Chicago area on April 4, when municipal elections were held. Motivated in part by the election of a president who campaigned on banning foreign Muslims from entering the country, some American Muslims are seeking a voice in politics—not just as voters, but as candidates.

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Categories: America, The Muslim Times, USA

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