Could These Be the First Muslim Women in Congress?

History would be made even if one Muslim American female candidate wins.

The 2018 political year is proving to be watershed for women in American politics. Multiple U.S. primaries have ended in women winning much-contested posts. They have upset a few prominent names in United States politics and won countless governorship nominations. A few women have even questioned the status quo of establishment politics. Statistics gleaned from the Democratic Party have found that not only are women competing in elections, they win seats too. A new trend is also being seen which was unthinkable a few years back: a number of Muslim women are on the race to serve in U.S. Congress.

In 2018, a record number of Muslim candidates have put forward their names for getting elected to office. This is happening along with the number of progressive candidates pushing the Democratic Party further to the left. The Justice Democrats faction has even endorsed a few of the candidates. The Justice division is a progressive political group which gave support to New York's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to help her to win.

The State of Michigan has two Muslim women in the House seat contest. Both candidates, Rashida Tlaib and Fayrouz Saad, are Democrats and both are competing for House seats. Other Muslim women candidates include Deedra Abboud for a Senate seat in Arizona, Ilhan Omar for a Minnesota House seat, and Tahirah Amatul-Wadud for a Massachusetts House seat. In case any of them pass their November primaries, they would find a place in history as Muslim women representing the electorate.

For Muslims having U.S. citizenship, these are trying times. The community has faced an upsurge in hate crimes against it during the last few years, particularly after Donald Trump took over the U.S. presidency. The White House has nearly normalized Islamophobic rhetoric with its own shrill anti-Islam policies. It did not help that the Supreme Court upheld the Washington travel ban targeting a few countries having Muslim majority populations.

Muslim candidates themselves are not interested in making history. According to the candidates, they want to compete so that they can solve the issues which trouble their respective constituencies and also influence politics at the national level. These candidates, however, are aware of what a win would mean for U.S. politics. One candidate, Michigan's Saad, told the media that winning a seat would break down a few misconceptions and stereotypes.

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