Current Events
Melanie's Corner
Movements That Matter – Muslim Women Win Big Politically In November
Current Events
Nov 13, 2020
Dilshad Ali
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Clockwise from top left: Farrah Khan, Nida Allam, Ilhan Omar, Madinah Wilson-Anton, Iman Jodeh and Mauree Turner
Dilshad Ali
November 3, 2020 proved to be a tense and exciting day in politics for Americans around the country, and while it took several days for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to be called the president-elect by numerous media outlets, several Muslim women around the country enjoyed their own victories in numerous local and state elections. Muslims and Muslim women especially entered politics at all sorts of levels and in a variety of ways in the past several years, from running for office to voter registration drives, community organizing, lobbying work, fundraising and so much more.
Political organizing and political work is a movement that matters, and we are so proud of our fellow Muslim sisters (and brothers) in all facets of their hard work to become elected officials and also work behind the scenes to affect change and challenge systemic social injustice issues. While we know we’ve missed a few, here are some of the fantastic women who won big on November 3. (Also, click here to read about many other women who ran for elected office in the past four years! They may not have won, but each push is a tremendous step forward.)
Let us know in the comments who we missed and should feature in future articles and posts! Also, congrats to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for winning their reelection campaigns for Congress!
Madinah Wilson-Anton – House of Representatives, Delaware
In an overwhelming victory, with 72 percent of the votes, Madinah Wilson-Alton was elected as Delaware’s first Muslim legislator on November 3rd. Madinah works as a policy analyst at the University of Delaware’s Biden Institute and first garnered public attention when she defeated 11-term incumbent John Viola by a slim 43 votes in the Democratic primary by promising to uphold a more progressive agenda. “People want progressive change,” Madinah said during her campaign,” and the establishment has not given us that.” She wants to move to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2050 and have a progressive taxation system for Delaware.
Farrah Khan Mayor, Irvine, California
Councilwoman Farrah Khan was elected the mayor of Irvine, California,, defeating Mayor Christina Shea who had served as mayor for close to half of the city’s nearly 50 years. “The results pretty clearly indicated that the people of Irvine wanted a new mayor … “ said Mayor Christina, in this Orange County Register article. Mayor-elect Khan said in her two years as a city council member, she learned that “being very transparent, being accessible and giving people the information they are seeking” is very important. She plans to work to help her city manage the COVID crisis and work on a new community choice energy program.
Iman Jodeh House of Representative, Colorado
The state of Colorado has its first Muslim legislator in the state’s history! Imam Jodeh, an activist and an educator, thought about booking two one-way tickets to Palestine for herself and her mother after her father had passed and Donald Trump was elected president four years ago. However, a friend told her that he found it curious she would prefer to live under occupation in Palestine rather than in the U.S. “I looked around and saw I had an obligation to my community,” Iman told The New Arab. “I had an obligation to uplift communities with my experience in advocacy.”
Nida Allam Durham County Board of Commissioners, North Carolina
Nida Allam made history in winning the election for Durham County Board of Commissioner as “the first Muslim woman to win an elected seat in North Carolina.” We first covered her story here! She was driven to politics after the death of her best friend Yusor Abu-Salha, who was executed with her husband Deah Barakat and sister Razan Abu-Salha in 2015 Chapel Hill shooting. They are known as Our Three Winners in the Muslim community. Nida advocates for police reform, mental health and promoting women and POC-led businesses. In 2018, Nida served as the Chair of Council for the Mayor’s Council for Women in Durham. In 2017 she served as the third vice chair for North Carolina’s Democratic Party and in 2016 she was the political director for then presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sander.
Mauree Turner House of Representatives, Oklahoma
In 2019, the Oklahoma state legislature blocked an imam from conducting the chamber’s daily prayer. Now, a Black hijab-wearing Muslim has been elected to the state legislature. Mauree Turner, won decisively in a solid blue 88th Oklahoma district that is part of Oklahoma City. In an interview with The Washington Post, Mauree said, This campaign, this movement that we built really hinged on visibility. The legislature hasn’t always been a friendly or welcoming place to many folks, and this was about drawing space - not fighting for a seat at the table, but creating a new table altogether.”
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