MD: Black, Muslim and Republican



HE'S BLACK. He's a Muslim. And he's Republican.

How's that for being a minority within a minority within a minority?

As if that weren't enough, Baltimore attorney Melvin A. Bilal decided to
add another - trying to wrest a City Council seat in the newly created 6th
District away from Democrat Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, one of the incumbents
in the old 5th District.

But it's not that Bilal chose what may seem a quixotic mission. Folks at
his campaign headquarters on Liberty Heights Avenue said last night that
Bilal is a draftee.

"We came to Melvin," said John Cason, a Muslim in Bilal's Northwest
Baltimore neighborhood. "We told him we need somebody who's not owned and
operated by anyone other than the people of the community…"

"We need to get off this thing of Democrats or Republicans," Cason said.
"We need who's going to best represent us."

For Cason, that would have been Bilal, who has already done extensive work
on education, drugs and crime, boarded-up houses, and bringing jobs to the
district.

"My knowledge of the business community is going to be very helpful," Bilal
said.

Cason said Bilal is part of a Muslim community that hopes to bring stable,
crime-free neighborhoods to the district. Cason and Bilal worked together
to shut down a liquor store in a neighborhood that already has far too
many. In Cason's view, Bilal has already done the work many feel
Rawlings-Blake hasn't done.

"We pray that Melvin wins," he said. "But if he doesn't win, we're going to
keep the message going."

 


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