Press Releases

CAIR-WA: At Least Six Washington State Muslim Delegates Take Part in 2016 Democratic National Convention

CAIR logoOne WA Muslim delegate is youngest of 100 delegates from WA

(SEATTLE, WA, 7/26/2016) –  The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) today said that at least six American Muslim delegates – almost all delegates for Senator Bernie Sanders – from Washington State are attending the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pa., this week.  

CONTACT:  CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari; E-mail: abukhari@cair.com; Phone: 206.931.3655

One of them, Ava Sharifi of Spokane, is the youngest delegate in this year’s statewide delegation of about 100 delegates from WA.  [NOTE: Though it is unconfirmed, it is likely that she may be the youngest voting delegate from any state to the DNC this year].

Three of the Muslim delegates for Sen. Bernie Sanders from WA are available for interviews in Philadelphia during the DNC from Monday, July 25 to Thursday night, July 28, and then in the delegates’ hometowns – Seattle and Spokane – from Friday afternoon, July 29 onward.

NOTE: At this year’s June 17-19, 2016 Wash. State Democratic Convention, the state Democratic party passed a resolution recognizing the contributions of American Muslims.  See text of resolution here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/h33plkq

“I remember growing up, my mom and dad always told me, ‘Ava, you are going to do everything you can to make our society a better place. You must give back to society’ and I remember those words every day,â€Â said Ava Sharifi, the youngest delegate in this year’s statewide delegation of about 100 delegates from WA and a Spokane Muslim resident.

Sharifi added: “American Muslims share the same American values and freedoms that we all cherish, knowing that we are all in this together and uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States. Over 10,000 American Muslims serve in our nation’s armed forces, and many have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, including U.S. Army Specialist Kareem Khan, U.S. Army Major James Ahearn, U.S. Army Specialist Rasheed Sahib, and U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan.â€

“My parents taught me Prophet  Muhammad’s teaching that Muslims, both women and men, should pursue high levels of education and inspired by this Islamic teaching, I worked hard to get into the University of Washington, double-majoring in Psychology and Communications, and volunteer at the Seattle Children’s Hospital in the Clinical Research department, said Ayla Kadah.

“I go about my everyday life motivated to pursue higher education, and give back to our society, and to our nation. because that is the teaching of Prophet Muhammad. It's a teaching which my parents raised me to follow. I am just one of millions upon millions of American Muslim women who are driven by my faith to pursue higher education and to give back contribute to society. In fact, a Gallup Poll on American Muslims found that American Muslim women are the second most highly educated religious group of women in the U.S., and are just as likely as American Muslim men to have a college degree or higher education.  As I entered professional life, my parents encouraged me to be an ambassador of my faith. They taught me to be humble and grateful for God’s blessings. They taught me to have faith in God no matter the hardships in life,â€Â said Varisha Khan.

Khan added: “I believe in America. I’m proud to be an American Muslim. American Muslims share our country’s strong family values, dedicated to raising and educating our children, and want to succeed in the traditional American way – by working hard and supporting our families. American Muslims deserve the same opportunities as all Americans – to build better futures for our families and children.â€

BIOGRAPHY OF MS. AVA SHARIFI:

Born in Miami, FL to a middle class family, Ava Sharifi is a June 2016 graduate of Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, WA. She will start attending the University of Washington in Fall of 2016 where she plans to pursue a major in political science and law.  Her father is a professor of political science at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA and her mother is an active citizen in Spokane.

Motivated by her experience being the target of anti-Muslim Islamophobia, she plans to pursue a career where she can improve our nation’s public school curricula to bring Americans together through a deep understanding of the histories of the ethnic and cultural groups that comprise the fabric of America.

She is among at least six American Muslim delegates from Washington State to the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, PA, and is the youngest delegate in this year’s statewide delegation of about 100 delegates from WA.  She may also be the youngest voting delegate from any state to the 2016 DNC.

Ava Sharifi’s speech to a packed gymnasium at Lewis and Clark High School during a Martin Luther King Day assembly on January 15, 2016 about her experience being a target of Islamophobia, was widely celebrated and featured in local news.

See video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDKVnWtAhCU 

Also see: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/feb/11/high-school-speech-imploring-acceptance-strikes-a-/   

Also see: http://www.khq.com/story/31179868/spokane-teens-powerful-speech-being-muslim-while-islamaphobia-sweeps-through-this-nation

She is a proud American, U.S. citizen, a registered voter, an American Muslim, and a firm believer in the promise of America.

BIOGRAPHY OF MS. AYLA KADAH:

Born in San Jose, CA to a middle class American Muslim family, Ayla Kadah is a proud American, U.S. citizen, a registered voter, an American Muslim, and a firm believer in the promise of America.

Inspired by Prophet Muhammad’s teachings that Muslims, both women and men, should pursue high level of education, she is pursuing a dual major in Psychology and Communication at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. She expects to graduate in June, 2017.  She is fluent in English and Arabic and has limited working proficiency in German and French.  

Inspired by Islamic teachings of giving back to society and to humanity, she is a volunteer intern at Seattle Children’s Hospital in the Clinical Research department.

She is among at least six American Muslim delegates from Washington State to the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, PA, and among the youngest delegates in this year’s statewide delegation of about 100 delegates from WA. 

BIOGRAPHY OF MS. VARISHA KHAN:

Born in Dallas, TX to a middle class American Muslim family and raised in Woodinville, WA, Varisha Khan is a Junior at the University of Washington (UW), with a double major in Journalism and Political Science. Motivated by her experience growing up in a national climate that became increasingly hostile toward American Muslims, she plans to pursue a career in public interest law after graduation.  She is a U.S. citizen, a registered voter, and a firm believer in the promise of America.

Her strong work ethic, faith and sense of responsibility to community and country come from her upbringing by parents who are practicing Muslims.  Inspired by Islamic teachings, Ms. Khan has made it her life’s mission to give back to society. 

She has been an advocate, both speaking and writing for rights of children and families from Syria seeking refuge in the United States.  She is also active in American Muslim communities at UW and additionally is the founding director of the Middle Eastern Commission in the Associated Students of UW. She volunteers to do humanitarian and relief work with local non-profits including OneAmerica and Americans for Refugees and Immigrants. Her journalistic work has been published in The Seattle Globalist, The Daily of UW, and the International Examiner.   She was included in the recently released ‘#MPower100’ list, a nationwide list of American Muslim ‘social justice leaders building power across the United States.’  She is one of at least six American Muslim delegates from Washington State attending the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, PA.

Prior to attending the University of Washington, she graduated from Woodinville High School where she founded the school's chapter of Key Club International, served as an Associated Student Body officer, and was Captain of the women’s golf team.  She enjoys traveling, snowboarding, good barbeque and Sunday night football.

She is among at least six American Muslim delegates from Washington State to the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, PA, and among the youngest delegates in this year’s statewide delegation of about 100 delegates from WA. 

###

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter