News / USA

Seven Muslim Americans on Ballot in Suburban Chicago

Maha Hasan is running for a position as a trustee with the Justice Public Library in suburban Chicago
Maha Hasan is running for a position as a trustee with the Justice Public Library in suburban Chicago

When it started last year, the non-profit group Project Mobilize, or Project M, hoped to change the political landscape in suburban Chicago by promoting Muslim Americans as election candidates.  So far, there are no Muslim Americans serving as elected officials in the Chicago area.  But Project M hopes that will change in municipal elections April 5.

In the countdown to election day, Maha Hasan is making a final push to get out the vote.

She is running for a position as a trustee with the Justice Public Library.  Justice is a Chicago suburb.

“The demographics have significantly changed.  You see a lot more Polish immigrants coming in.  You see a lot more Latin Americans.  You see more, definitely more Middle Eastern Arab Americans migrating in,” she said.

Hasan is hoping to make history as the first Muslim American candidate elected to the Justice Public Library board.  She is one of seven Muslim Americans on ballots in municipal elections in suburban Chicago April 5.  Five are women.

“As far as me being a Muslim female running for this, and wearing the headscarf and obviously following a more traditional Islamic role and obligation, it might be difficult in that people will look at me and automatically judge me, but that’s part of the process of getting people to know who I am and what I offer as a Muslim female American of Arab descent living in this country,” she said.

Hasan has familiar company on the campaign trail.  Her sister Nuha is running for a position as commissioner with the Justice Park District.

Maha and Nuha Hasan are on ballots thanks to the non-profit group Project Mobilize, run by Reema Ahmad. She says there is a similarity between the efforts in suburban Chicago, and the changes underway in the Middle East.

“We’re having our own revolution where we want to get more people involved, change people’s mind-set.  You can actually have a say in your local government.  You can do something about the park district, about the libraries. If you have a really good idea, you can get involved.  It’s not beyond the realm of possibility.  And that’s what we are trying to do here,” she said.

Ahmed Aduib is running for a position on the Bridgeview library board.  He says before now, there was a reluctance in the Muslim American community to be active in politics.

“It took the Muslim community a while to realize that we need to start getting active, we need to start pushing.  You know this country is our country just like anyone else.  I was born and raised here, so I might as well start making a difference here,” he said.

Aduib says his candidacy, and the record number of Muslim Americans seeking office in elections Tuesday, show that his community is active and engaged, despite concerns raised by U.S. Representative Peter King at a recent Congressional hearing about homegrown Muslim extremists.

“We were planning on doing this before obviously Peter King came out and started with these basically, witch trials.  They’re going out trying to figure out Muslims who are in different communities, trying to say that these are condoning terrorism or allowing, and that’s not the case," Aduib said. "This whole Project Mobilize couldn’t have come at a better time, especially in our community, to show that no - this is not the case.  We’re here to make sure that we make a difference along with every other American.”

While Project Mobilize is pushing for victories for all seven of its candidates, Reema Ahmad says the experience so far is itself a milestone the organization can build on as it prepares for future elections.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid