Fayaz Nawabi has never met President Trump. But he credits the president with convincing him to run for office.

Nawabi, a 31-year-old candidate for San Diego City Council, supports almost everything that Trump opposes: He is pro-affordable housing, pro-environment, pro-immigrant and pro-refugee. That makes him part of the blue wave of new liberal candidates spurred to run by Trump’s election and policies.

 But Nawabi is also part of a notable subset: the blue Muslim wave.

 More than 90 American Muslims, nearly all of them Democrats, are running for public office across the country this year. Many are young and politically inexperienced, and most are long shots. But they represent a collective gamble: that voters are so disgusted by America’s least popular president on record that they’re willing to elect members of America’s least popular religious minority group.

Although their number seems small, the candidacies mark an unprecedented rise for the nation’s diverse Muslim community that typically has been underrepresented in American politics.

There are more than 3.3 million Muslims living in the United States, but Muslim Americans hold just two of the 535 seats in Congress. And the Muslim community’s voter participation pales in comparison to the general public’s.

The rise of Muslim candidates coincides with the growth of the predominantly immigrant population and a partisan shift that has played out over a generation. In a 2001 Zogby poll of American Muslims, 42 percent said they voted for Republican George W. Bush in the previous year’s presidential election, while 31 percent said they voted for Democrat Al Gore. By last year, just 8 percent of voting American Muslims in a Pew poll said they voted for Trump, while 78 percent said they voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton.


Fayaz Nawabi, a Muslim candidate running for San Diego City Council, gathers his belongings before going to a debate at the Mira Mesa Public Library in San Diego on March 3. (Sandy Huffaker/For The Washington Post)

While Clinton’s campaign never garnered broad enthusiasm from Muslim communities, Trump’s campaign — which called for the monitoring of mosques and a ban on Muslims entering the United States — delivered a jolt on election night that some American Muslims likened to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“It woke everyone up,” Nawabi said.

Now, Muslim candidates are running for a wide range of offices across the country, from local school boards to the U.S. Senate. Some are making their Muslim identity central to their campaigns.

“When you put someone in a corner and they’re in survival mode, they have a tendency to come out and speak more prominently about their beliefs,” said Nawabi, who considers himself an “unapologetic Muslim” who can quote the Koran from memory and moonlights as a “freelance imam.”

In Michigan, where 13 Muslim candidates are running for office, physician Abdul El-Sayed is hoping voters will elect him to be the first Muslim governor in the United States and has used his religion in campaign ads against Republican front-runner Bill Schuette, whom Trump has endorsed.

“Donald Trump and Steve Bannon would love to see a right-wing radical like Bill Schuette elected in Michigan,” reads a Facebook ad for El-Sayed, who faces a Democratic primary in August. “You know what would be sweet justice? If we elected a 33-year-old Muslim instead of Bill Schuette. Send a message and help elect the first Muslim governor in America.”

A new generation of leaders

A half a century ago, a small population of black Americans embraced Islam as a pathway to political empowerment and civil rights, and today their descendants are members of the U.S. military, police officers, city council members and career civil servants.

But in the immigrant community, the experience is newer. About two-thirds of American Muslims are immigrants or the children of immigrants, and activists say a cultural fear or mistrust of government can accompany those who have fled authoritarian regimes, hindering participation in the political process.

“A lot of people feel like, ‘I’m just going to make my money, put my head down,’” said Nawabi, whose family arrived in San Diego as refugees from Afghanistan when he was a toddler.

They feel political involvement “puts a target on their backs because that’s what it meant where they came from,” he said.


Fayaz Nawabi, a Muslim candidate running for San Diego City Council, leads morning prayers at the Muslim Community Center on March 3. (Sandy Huffaker/For The Washington Post)

A small number of Muslim and Arab advocacy groups, such as e the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Emgage (formerly called Emerge USA), and the Arab American Institute have spent years training young political activists, tracking rising politicians and running get-out-the-vote campaigns, particularly in immigrant communities after the 9/11 terrorist attacks set off an anti-Muslim and anti-Arab backlash.

But Trump’s policies have intensified the push for political activism in the diverse community. There was the travel ban, which sought to prohibit entry to people from several Muslim-majority countries, as well as refugees. There were Trump’s calls to monitor mosques and his appointments of Cabinet members and political advisers who have disparaged and mocked Muslims. There were the comments and tweets that cast Islam as inherently dangerous and called Muslim patriotism into question.

Emgage, a nonprofit organization geared toward promoting Muslim political engagement, polled registered Muslim voters after the 2016 presidential election and found that 53 percent felt “less safe.”

“But the response has been increased civic participation,” said Wa’el Alzayat, the organization’s chief executive. “I’m one of the people who, looking at the long-term impact of this, is optimistic.”

A sizable generation of American-born Muslims and Arabs are in their 20s and 30s, their school years shaped by 9/11, and their comfort and familiarity in the American political system far surpassing that of their immigrant parents.

“They’re ready,” said James Zogby, a longtime Democratic operative and president of the Arab American Institute, who has provided funding and mentorship to several candidates. “Both communities separately have reached a level of maturation.”

Nawabi, a self-described “typical millennial” and avid surfer, was never interested in politics until Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) captured his attention during the 2016 presidential race. But it was the day after Trump won the election that Nawabi decided he needed to act.

That morning, he walked into the local Islamic school where he was then teaching, imagining how his students’ parents might be “trying to explain to their kids that there’s a bigot, a racist, in the White House.”

But when he got to the classroom, he realized his second-graders were already thinking about it.

“They were talking about where they were going to move now that Trump was president,” said Nawabi. “That really affected me.”

Before long, he had become an assembly district delegate for the California Democratic Party, a win he attributed to his ability to mobilize 200 Muslim voters. He gave sermons at mosques attended by mostly immigrants about the importance of seeing themselves as part of the American political system, and he launched a Muslim American Democratic Club in San Diego.

“The Republican Party has completely thrown our community under the bus,” he said.

He added his name to the ballot for city council.


Fayaz Nawabi, a muslim candidate running for San Diego City Council, interacts with people at his campaign booth outside of the Mira Mesa Library on March 3. (Sandy Huffaker/For The Washington Post)
A flurry of firsts

The call to action among American Muslims has yielded a diverse array of candidates. They include former Obama administration officials and longtime political activists, but also physicians and lawyers, women’s rights advocates, a molecular biologist and a former Planned Parenthood manager.

The flurry of candidacies makes for a lot of potential “firsts.”

Asif Mahmood, a 56-year-old pulmonologist, would be the first Muslim insurance commissioner in California. Deedra Abboud, 45, in Arizona, or Jesse Sbaih, 42, in Nevada, could be the country’s first Muslim senator.

And any one of four Muslim women — Nadia Hashimi, 40, in Maryland; Sameena Mustafa, 47, in Illinois; or Fayrouz Saad, 34, and Rashida Tlaib, 41, in Michigan — could be the first in Congress.

Muslim political activists and community leaders say they’ve noticed more young Muslims showing up to political events ranging from legislative hearings and school board meetings to women’s marches and civil rights rallies.

“I think you see this invigoration of the younger generation who is like, ‘We need to stand up and share our narratives and share our stories. We can’t stand on the sidelines,’ ” said Abdullah Hammoud, 27, who won election to Michigan’s state legislature in 2016. “There is this fire lit under them. They see their rights being stripped away, day in and day out.”

Several also have dealt with backlash. “Sorry no room for Muslims in our government,” one man wrote last year on Abboud’s campaign Facebook page. Kia Hamadanchy, the 32-year-old son of Iranian immigrants who is running for Congress in Southern California, said he occasionally has to delete online comments, including one that said, “He wants to behead you all.”

Nawabi says a few people have asked him why he has a beard, whether he speaks English and even whether he’s a terrorist.

Still, many Muslim candidates are wearing their religion as a badge of honor.

“As a Muslim immigrant from the great blue state of California, I’m a triple threat to Donald Trump!” Mahmood posted on his campaign website.

“The child of Palestinian immigrants . . . the first female Muslim elected to the Michigan Legislature,” Rashida Tlaib, running for Congress, wrote on hers.

Some candidates and political activists say that even if no Muslim candidate wins a seat this year, the blue Muslim wave still will have accomplished something. The American public will grow more accustomed to seeing Muslim candidates, they say, and Muslim youth will see candidates who look like them or share their values.

Many, they hope, will be inspired.

Under Trump, Zogby said, “Running itself becomes making a statement.”

Jorge Ribas in San Diego contributed to this report.

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 Kristi Ann, I want you to understand this, look at what you posted, this is what caused Alex Jones and other conservatives to be kicked off of facebook.

 Ning is owned by a Arabic Company, what I am getting at, do you want the TPCC, terminated because to state what you did about the word Allah, Allah is the Arabic word for God in Abrahamic Religions, it is their language, to say God.
 I stand against what is taking place, 90 American Muslims running for office, it is not noted if they are Christian or of Islamic Faith. This gives me concern.

 Also noted is the fact 23 to 25 American Muslims hold office in America, it was stated only 2 or 3 hold office, they lied or was not aware of the political facts. Plus where the hell was the media on this? Not even Fox News published a report.

 Ms. Ann, as of now we do need your help, but the help asked for is to become a different person, a different standered for blogs.  Personally between you and I, the political shift that was hidden within was by the DNC, Jewish Politicians, with the help of the attorneys.

 As for the video you posted yes. Tif all ready knew of the lefts' video, I ordered it not shared, I have a different plan, and my plans 99% of the time work.

 I am testing youtube to see if they "shadow ban" my video. Most of my videos have 50 to 20,000 views, but when I post a video, exposing a lie, there are no views. And Hank is correct I do have that video up, under a different cause.

 I know you were trying to be helpful, but Tif and even Hank at times has it under control, for the blogs.

 I would also like to see some new stuff, politically correct of course. We have to change the way we address issues here in blogs or they will shut this site down.

 After reading just the first two pages of this, I see what all the concerns are, and just when you thought Hispanics was the immigration tidal wave into America. 

 Like Ronald said, lets bump it up...:)

Muslim Brotherhood's plan for America, what if we can connect these people to the Muslim Brotherhood?

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Political Cartoons by Chip BokThe cartoonist's homepage, pnj.com/opinion

ALERT ALERT

YIKES!!! Chelsea Clinton Emphatically States A Person With A Beard And A Penis Can ‘Absolutely’ Identify As A Woman

  • The one issue Hillary and Chelsea don’t appear to agree on entirely is transgender self-identification
  • In an interview with The Sunday Times, journalist Decca Aitkenhead asked the Clintons about transgender self-identification
  • Chelsea Clinton replied ‘yes’ emphatically when asked if someone with a beard and penis can ever be a woman
  • ‘It’s going to take a lot more time and effort to understand what it means to be defining yourself differently,’ Hillary said
  • Aitkenhead said Hillary became ‘uneasy’ when the question was asked while Chelsea shot a ‘furious stare’ at the journalist as her mother answered
  • Hillary added: ‘It’s a very big generational discussion, because this is not something I grew up with or ever saw’

(Daily Mail) – It may appear Hillary and Chelsea Clinton always see eye-to-eye, but in a recent interview one topic cracked the facade of the like-minded mother-daughter power duo.

The one issue Hillary and Chelsea don’t appear to agree on entirely is transgender self-identification.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, journalist Decca Aitkenhead asked the Clintons if someone with a beard and a penis can ever be a woman, to which Chelsea replied emphatically, ‘Yes.’

However, as Aitkenhead describes it, Hillary looked ‘uneasy’, and blamed generational gaps for being less accepting.

‘Errr. I’m just learning about this,’ Hillary responded. ‘It’s a very big generational discussion, because this is not something I grew up with or ever saw. It’s going to take a lot more time and effort to understand what it means to be defining yourself differently.’

The Clintons sat sown with Aitkenhead to promote the book they co-authored, The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience.

The book features Danica Roem, the first trans woman elected to a U.S. state legislature.

According Aitkenhead’s account, she tells Hillary during the interview that many British feminists of Hillary’s generation have a problem with the idea that a ‘lesbian who doesn’t want to sleep with someone who has a penis is transphobic.’

Hillary nods in agreement, while Chelsea ‘stiffens and stares at me’, according to Aitkenhead.

The journalist then adds that many women of Hillary’s generation are uncomfortable with biological males sharing women’s bathrooms.

‘I would say that, absolutely,’ Hillary nods firmly. ‘Absolutely. Yes.’

That’s when Chelsea begins shooting a ‘furious stare’ at Aitkenhead, who points it out to her.

‘I’m a terrible actor’, Chelsea laughs.

Chelsea then says she is thrilled with the National Health Service’s decision to assign patients to single-sex wards according to the gender they identify as, instead of their biological make up.

‘How can you treat someone if you don’t recognize who they feel and know in their core they are?’ Chelsea says.

‘And I strongly support children being able to play on the sports teams that match their own gender identity,’ she adds. ‘I think we need to be doing everything we can to support kids in being whoever they know themselves to be and discovering who they are.’

At this point Hillary looks conflicted.

‘I think you’ve got to be sensitive to how difficult this is,’ Hillary says. ‘There are women who’d say [to a trans woman], ”You know what, you’ve never had the kind of life experiences that I’ve had. So I respect who you are, but don’t tell me you’re the same as me.” I hear that conversation all the time.’

Despite the clear tension in the room, the pair say they don’t argue about this topic.

But according to Aitkenhead, ‘I get the impression they don’t like to present anything less than a united front to the world.’

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