By Aysha Khan, who is a Boston-based journalist reporting on American Muslims and millennial faith for RNS. Her newsletter, Creeping Sharia, curates news coverage of Muslim communities in the U.S. Previously, she was the social media editor at RNS.
(RNS) — Mauree Turner, a 27-year-old member of Oklahoma City’s Muslim community, became Muslim after learning about the faith from her father, who converted while incarcerated. Black and nonbinary, Turner is also a community organizer who’s long been involved in criminal justice reform.
On Tuesday night (Nov. 3), Turner became the first Muslim to win a seat in Oklahoma’s Legislature.
“Mauree is part of a 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,” said Mohammed Missouri, executive director of Jetpac, a political engagement organization that trains Muslims how to run for office.
More than 100 Muslim candidates ran for elected office this year, including U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. The Democratic representatives, who are the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, were reelected to their second terms on Tuesday night.
Turner was not the only Muslim candidate elected to a statewide office this week, nor was she the only one with a historic victory. On Tuesday, voters in Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Oklahoma and Wisconsin all elected their state legislatures’ first Muslim lawmakers. All five candidates ran as Democrats.
“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 health care, the economy, criminal legal system and every other issue impacting American life,” Missouri told Religion News Service.
A political newcomer, Turner defeated Republican Kelly Barlean in the race for state House in Oklahoma’s 88th District after an upset victory in June’s Democratic primary. Turner’s campaign had won endorsements from Omar, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Categories: The Muslim Times