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CAIR, MPower Change and Jetpac Release Report on Muslim Political Mobilization in the Trump Era

New report highlights successful Muslim political candidates and campaigns in the 2018 midterm election

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/15/18) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Jetpac and MPower Change today released a report, “The Rise of American Muslim Changemakers,” documenting the 127 American Muslims elected or appointed to public office since the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the subsequent rise in anti-Muslim bigotry.

That report profiles newly-elected Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Cleveland City Council Member Basheer Jones, among many others. The report shows that these and other American Muslim candidates were unapologetic in the face of relentless political attacks on their faith, heritage and political orientation. It also outlines successful Muslim political campaign strategies and grassroots organizing techniques.

[MEDIA ADVISORY: One of the authors of the report, CAIR Research & Advocacy Director Dr. Abbas Barzegar, will outline its findings live Friday, November 16 on CAIR’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/CAIRNational – at 11 a.m . (Eastern).]

READ THE ENTIRE REPORT: The Rise of American Muslim Changemakers https://www.cair.com/muslimchangemakers

“What we are witnessing is the beginning of a truly historic moment in American democracy. American Muslims are taking control of their own narrative and refusing to be silenced by the rising Islamophobia that has swept the country since 2016. The individuals profiled in this report are guided by faith, but not defined by it. The America they want to create is a more just, inclusive and equitable one for all Americans, not just Muslims. However, our efforts as a community cannot end here. This report also reveals the work that must be done to create stronger faith-based support systems, increase community involvement and extend civic engagement beyond the ballot box.” – Nihad Awad, CAIR National Executive Director

“Jetpac is honored to have been a part of the increase in American Muslim involvement in the 2018 midterms, and in the subsequent creation of this report. It’s more important than ever that our community mobilize votes, funds and candidates to harness our political capital. The grassroots movements that were built around this election cycle can only have a positive effect on both policy and rhetoric that affects Americans of all races, religions and backgrounds. The profiles and data in this report tell the story of Americans who happen to be Muslim rising up to the challenge of Islamophobia and answering it with the call to public service. They campaigned, and they will serve, not for themselves, not just for Muslims, but for all Americans.” – Shaun Kennedy, Executive Director Jetpac

“There were many incredible Muslim-led victories in the 2018 election, which will allow our communities to build toward even bigger wins in 2020. In order to do so, we must understand

that electoral politics are just the tip of the iceberg. We have to build nationwide community organizing infrastructure. The next two years present us with an opportunity to transform not only how Muslims are civically engaged, but to build a strong, national infrastructure of grassroots organizing for Muslim communities.” – Linda Sarsour, Executive Director MPower Change

Highlights of the Report Include That Since 2016:

* 276 Muslim candidates have filed election paperwork

* 4 Muslim congressional candidates won races

* 135 Muslim candidates ran races at the local level, with 75 winning races*

* Of the 134 Muslims in partisan races, 91 percent ran as candidates for the Democratic party*

* Muslim congressional candidates raised over $16 million

*does not include Muslim candidates that filed paperwork for more than one race

Report Findings Include:

* The report profiles successful American Muslim electoral campaign winners Michigan Congresswoman-elect Rashida Tlaib; Minnesota Congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar; Cleveland City Council Member Basheer Jones; and other Muslim resonating candidates like Michigan candidate for governor Abdul El-Sayed; Arizona candidate for Senate Deedra Abboud; Massachusetts congressional candidate Tahirah Amatul-Wadud; and Georgia candidate for State House Assembly Aisha Yaqoob.

* The report found that these American Muslim candidates are unapologetic in the face of relentless attacks on their faith, heritage, and political orientation. Muslims campaigning for office, and serving the public, come from various backgrounds and are proactive and bold about their identity as empowered citizens who are committed to their faith and ready to serve their constituents on issues that affect all Americans.

* American Muslim candidates are most likely to prioritize people before profit, with their campaigns rooted in grassroots organizing, strategizing, and fundraising. As the profiles in this report show, these candidates’ policy priorities are grounded in local interests. Issues such as fair wages, affordable and accessible healthcare and equitable housing top their strategic priorities.

* In the face of rising Islamophobia embraced partisans on the political right, rather than retreating from an uninviting political arena or acquiescing to the rampant cynicism that defines much of the average citizen’s attitude to formal politics, Muslim candidates have jumped directly into the combative public arena, exemplifying that principled and purposeful civic engagement is the only way to repair what so many see as a failing system.

* African-American Muslim candidates like Cleveland City Councilman Basheer Jones and Massachusetts attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud have carried the legacy of African-American Muslim contributions to the formal political arena. They laid the groundwork and set the precedent for their coreligionists to be grassroots-oriented, service-committed and unapologetically Muslim.

About the Report Authors:

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

Jetpac (Justice Education Technology Political Advocacy Center) is a training and educational organization that seeks to build a strong American Muslim political infrastructure and increase the community’s influence and engagement.

MPower Change is one of the largest Muslim-led social and racial justice organizations in the United States. Rooted in the Islamic faith and the Prophetic model, it believes in building a more just world for all people.

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CONTACT: CAIR Research and Advocacy Department Director Dr. Abbas Barzegar at (202) 742-6413, aBarzegar@cair.com, Jetpac Executive Director Shaun J. Kennedy at (626) 538-7221, shaun@jet-pac.com; and, MPower Change Campaign Director at (917) 981-8919, mohammad@mpowerchange.org

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