Arabs make history in US elections
November 08 2020 01:33 AM
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From left: Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ibrahim Samirah, Iman Joudeh, Fady Qaddoura
From left: Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ibrahim Samirah, Iman Joudeh, Fady Qaddoura

Arab Democrat politicians have made history, winning mid-term elections for the first time as legislators in their respective states in the US.
An American of Palestinian origin, Rashida Tlaib, secured a seat in Congress from Michigan.
She is the first Muslim Arab to enter Congress from Michigan.
Tlaib, 42, the eldest of 14 brothers and sisters, all of whom were born to immigrant parents from Palestine’s West Bank, is from Senator Bernie Sanders’ wing in the Democratic Party.
She calls for reforms such as universal healthcare, setting minimum wages, protecting the environment, and acceptable fees for university education.
A lawyer, Tlaib has been serving as the US Representative for Michigan’s 13th congressional district since 2019.
Ilhan Omar won a second term in the House of Representatives from Minnesota.
Her victory comes despite the fierce attacks from President Donald Trump and his Republican supporters against the veiled Muslim lawmaker.
Omar is one of four progressive women of colour who were first elected to the House of Representatives in 2018, and is part of the “Squad” that has been a frequent target of racist comments by Trump.
Originally from Somalia, Omar kept her seat as the representative of the Fifth District in Minnesota, with 64.6% of the votes.
Iman Joudeh won a seat in the American Colorado Legislative Council, becoming the state’s first Muslim female representative, after defeating her Republican rival, former educator Bob Andrews.
She was born and raised in Colorado to Palestinian parents who immigrated to the US 47 years ago.
Joudeh is the executive director of “Meet the Middle East”, which she founded in 2008, with the aim of creating bridges of relationship and understanding between Americans and the peoples of the Middle East.
A graduate of the University of Colorado Denver, she also lectures there on Islam and the geopolitical climate in the Middle East.
During her election race, Joudeh had the support of Senator Sanders.
On her campaign site of the Democratic Party, she defines herself as a first-generation American, a progressive Democrat, an advocate for society, and a teacher.
“I ran this election race to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance at achieving the American dream,” Joudeh said.
Fady Qaddoura became the first Muslim elected to the Indiana Statehouse with his victory over John Ruckelshaus.
Qaddoura, a 40-year-old Democrat from Indianapolis, won with 52.5% of the vote, a margin of about 4,000 votes, in Senate District 30, which stretches from northern Indianapolis into southern Hamilton County.
“It was a lot of very hard work over the last many months,” he told IndyStar. “As a public servant, I could not ask the voters to give me their trust if I didn’t work hard every single day to demonstrate I’m serious. I want to serve every person in the community, regardless of your political persuasion.” 
Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane said Qaddoura’s win is a starting point for a path forward for Democrats.
Ibrahim Samirah, a 27-year-old Democrat, is a practising dentist.
An American of Jordanian-Palestinian descent, he recently won a seat on the Virginia State Council, becoming the youngest Muslim representative on state boards.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Samirah said that the changes occurring in the American political climate have effectively contributed to the entry of American Muslims into the political arena, and it is expected that their success will continue in the future. (Agencies)



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