The Real Midterm Elections Wave Wasn’t Blue—It Was Muslim

first-muslim-womenThe Muslims are no longer coming—they are here!

Well, in reality Muslims have been in America and contributing to it even before the nation was formed, since approximately 15 percent of the slaves from Africa were Muslim.

But now Muslim Americans are “here” in a whole new way as a record number won their elections last Tuesday. And ironically many of these candidates were inspired to run in response to the most openly anti-Muslim president our nation has ever seen, Donald Trump.

This “Muslim wave” was led by the first Muslim American women ever elected to Congress in our nation’s history: Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar and Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib.

Omar’s story is especially inspiring given that Trump would have banned her from the country if he was in office when she was trying to immigrate here because she’s from Somalia, one of the nations listed in Trump’s Muslim ban. Now Trump will have to deal with her as a new Democratic member of Congress.

Other big winners among Muslim candidates included Keith Ellison, who became the first Muslim ever to win statewide office with his victory as Minnesota’s attorney general. In North Carolina, we saw the first Muslim American ever elected to the state Senate with the victory of 32-year-old lawyer, Mujtaba Mohammed, who is Indian-American. And there were also numerous other Muslim Americans winning elections in local races, including five Muslim American women who were elected in California’s Bay Area, from City Council to Board of Education. As the Council on American Islamic Relations noted, all told a record 55 Muslims won election last week from federal to local offices.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY BEAST 

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Muslims Hope To ‘Wake Up’ At The Ballot Box This Year

gettyimages-977267058-edit_custom-e2e3877fb3c8ff8c01f82c1d405411efff5c3f22-s1600-c85On a recent Saturday afternoon in an office in St. Paul, Minn., a flurry of calls went out to Native American and Latinos voters reminding them to vote Nov. 6. And there was a new group added to the list: Muslims.

Until last year, ISAIAH, a multi-racial coalition of faith communities in Minnesota, was mostly made up of churches. Now, 24 mosques have joined the voter turnout effort. The group is focused on getting communities of color to vote this year in reaction to what it describes as politics of fear and a rise of white nationalism.

With Muslims and immigrants used as boogeymen in political rhetoric, Imam Asad Zaman, executive director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, said, getting his community to the ballot box is vital. Zaman is leading the local Muslim effort to get out the vote and has been a leader on political engagement in the community for more than 15 years.

And there are more Muslims now running for office, hoping to be part of a “blue wave.” In Minnesota, nine Muslims are on the ballot for state, federal and local offices.

FULL ARTICLE  FROM NPR 

Muslim Groups Raise Thousands for Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Victims

merlin_146049078_eb56ddd4-afb8-493a-a18a-16843e1ab36f-superJumboTwo Muslim organizations have raised nearly $200,000 to help victims and their families following the shooting massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

The online fund-raiser was part of a broad outpouring of assistance in response to the anti-Semitic attack, which killed 11 people and left six others injured, including blood drives, vigils and a separate crowdfunding campaign that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Tarek El-Messidi, a Chicago-based activist, said he learned of the synagogue shooting in a call Saturday morning from a friend who runs the Muslim fund-raising website LaunchGood. His friend asked Mr. El-Messidi if he could do something to help the victims, and he agreed.

Within two hours, he had created an online campaign with the backing of two Muslim groups, CelebrateMercy, where he is the founding director, and MPower Change. He set an initial goal of $25,000, which was promptly shattered as donations flooded in.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

 

The Muslims Are Coming

It’s the hate directed toward Islam that has motivated so many to enter the political arena.

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For some Americans — those who support a travel ban, a wall along the Mexican border and increased restrictions on refugees, all while holding on to the ridiculous belief that the world’s 1.8 billion Muslim hate America, despite the fact that it’s home to nearly 3.5 million of us — that statement probably inspires fear.

But it’s true: Nearly 100 Muslim political hopefuls have filed to run for elected office this year. Only a dozen or so ran in 2016.

In July, The Associated Press interviewed Muslim candidates about this record number. The reporting revealed that it’s precisely the bigotry and hate that has been directed toward Islam — including in remarks and tweets by President Trump — that has motivated so many Muslims to enter the political arena, where they now stand poised to advance policies that directly reflect their faith and also benefit all of their constituents.

Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, a former state representative and a daughter of Palestinian immigrants, would be the nation’s first Muslim woman in Congress. Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American and refugee from Kenya, is predicted to win in November, replacing Representative Keith Ellison in Minnesota.

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FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

Muslim-Americans helped to build this country

images_early_muslims_in_americaAnti-Muslim sentiments in the United States have been on the rise for some time, fueled largely by misunderstandings, fear of the unknown, and, of course, active demagoguery. Yet, it bears keeping in mind that Islam has been part of the U.S. from its beginnings.

Muslims came to these shores in large numbers with the transatlantic slave trade. It’s estimated that up to 20 percent of all African slaves may have been Muslim. Their fate was grim. As El-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz, formerly known as Malcolm X, aptly observed: “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock; the Rock was landed on us.” Nevertheless, they helped building America in so many ways. And, as historical evidence (names on the military muster rolls) suggests, Muslims even participated in the Revolutionary War, fighting alongside colonists for freedom and liberty.

Many Muslims who were forcefully brought were highly educated. Omar ibn Said, from present-day Senegal, was a slave in the Carolinas. Although he’s said to have converted to Christianity, Omar’s autobiography evidences his continuing reverence toward the Prophet Muhammad. His handwritten copy of various verses of the Qur’an, which still can be seen at UNC in Chapel Hill, demonstrates that he had memorized major parts of Islam’s sacred scripture.

FULL ARTICLE FROM GREENVILLE NEWS 

Seventeen years after 9/11, Muslims are still “presumed guilty”

5b97d42ba597b.imageWhen people ask Todd Green why Muslims don’t condemn terrorism — and they do ask, often — he has a quick response: “Have you ever Googled ‘Muslims condemning terrorism’?”

One of the top search results is MuslimsCondemn.com, an online database created almost two years ago by a 19-year-old college student. “You could spend all day on that site reading Muslims’ condemnations,” Green said.

The site lists statements from organizations like the Muslim Public Affairs Council and Islamic Society of North America; religious leaders like Imam Omar Suleiman and Imam Suhaib Webb; and political leaders and civil activists like London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Linda Sarour, former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York.

Fatwas have been declared, campaigns have been launched, memorials and prayer vigils have been held — all in the name of standing up against extremism.

Todd Green
Todd Green is the author of “Presumed Guilty.” Courtesy Todd Green

But somehow, Green says, some people seem to have missed out on how vocally most Muslims stand against terrorism, extremism and violence. In his new book “Presumed Guilty: Why We Shouldn’t Ask Muslims to Condemn Terrorism,” the associate professor of religion at Iowa’s Luther College cautions fellow non-Muslim Americans against what he calls not only a “troubling and unethical” double standard, but also “a form of racist scapegoating.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE OAKLAND PRESS 

Who gets to define American Muslim identity?

muslim_men_praying_jeansThe various groups that were drawn (or in some cases, dragged) to the United States have themselves been made up of a variety of smaller identity groups: Italian Catholics and Irish Catholics; Polish Jews and German Jews; Latinos from Guatemala and Latinos from Brazil. If, to paraphrase Walt Whitman, the poetical nature of the United States is determined by the dynamics of engagement between those identity communities, then there is also American poetry to be drawn from such dynamics within those communities.

No nation has a Muslim community that is more ethnically, racially, or theologically diverse than the United States. For many years, these various Muslim groups created separate spaces, such as mosques, schools, and community centers. Those who were less ritually observant often found no space at all. But the era of Islamophobia has forced them all together and raised fascinating questions about what it means to be American, what it means to be Muslim, and who gets to define the identity of American Muslims.

Ansari offered lessons in the science of prejudice through a set of humorous stories about Muslims. He reminded his audience that Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews. If you just changed the music on Homeland, he joked, we wouldn’t look so scary.

In a New York Times op-ed published a few months earlier, Ansari wrote on several of the same themes, but this time through the poignant story of instructing his parents not to go to the mosque for prayer lest they wind up the victims of an Islamophobic attack.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY