Source: Religion News Service
(RNS) — Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, founder of MuslimGirl.com, has become the first Muslim woman to run for Congress in New Jersey.
On Saturday (April 4), Al-Khatahtbeh announced her mission “to make democracy happen” by unseating 16-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Frank Pallone, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in the state’s 6th Congressional District.
A New Brunswick native, Al-Khatahtbeh studied political science and Middle Eastern studies at Rutgers University in the district.
“This moment is a stark reminder that we can no longer wait for incremental change. Our leadership can and must put the health and well-being of working families and the most vulnerable among us front and centre,” Al-Khatahtbeh said in a statement. “I’m proud to represent a coalition of under-represented communities in what’s nothing less than a historic fight for our lives.”
Muslim Americans have run for office in record numbers in recent years. According to Jetpac, a Boston-based Muslim political advocacy group, about 172 Muslims around the U.S. ran for office during the 2018 midterm elections; 63 won, including Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib . Last year, 46 of about 94 candidates won their elections.
Al-Khatahtbeh’s campaign platform prioritizes progressive causes, including Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, student loan cancellation, tuition-free public universities, criminal justice reform and a federal $15 minimum wage.
And, thanks to the coronavirus outbreak — which has hospitalized her campaign manager — Al-Khatehtbeh’s 2020 campaign ahead of the state’s June primary will be entirely digital.
It’s fitting for the 27-year-old media founder, who launched MuslimGirl.com out of her bedroom as a high school student. The site, whose writers are mostly young Muslim women in high school and college, publishes posts about issues ranging from self-care, fashion and body positivity to faith and progressive politics.