Donald Trump's election and the executive orders banning travelers from predominantly Muslim countries led to an upsurge in the number of Muslim Americans candidates fielded for elected office. Some, like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, elected to Congress in 2018, have since become influential in progressive politics at the national level. Bernie Sanders's recent primary campaign actively courted the Muslim vote in Michigan and elsewhere, recognizing Muslim voters, perhaps for the first time, as an influential bloc.
The Abbasi Program presents a panel to discuss the ways that Muslim Americans are increasingly influencing and participating in politics from local to national levels as well the policy issues and priorities motivating Muslim voters.
Abraham Aiyash is a progressive Democrat running for State Representative in Michigan District 4 (encompassing Hamtramck and parts of Detroit).
Nada Al-Hanooti is the executive director for Emgage Michigan where she leads organizing efforts, get out the vote and policy initiatives. Formerly, Nada served as a field coordinator for Rashida Tlaib for State Representative in Detroit.
Rachel Gillum (moderator) is a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Immigration Policy lab. She is the author of Muslims in a Post-9/11 America: A Survey of Attitudes and Beliefs and Their Implications for U.S. National Security Policy.
Abdullah Hammoud is serving his second term in the Michigan House of Representatives. He represents the 15th House District, comprised of his hometown, Dearborn.
Sadaf Jaffer is mayor of Montgomery Township, New Jersey. In 2019, she became the first Muslim woman mayor of a municipality in the United States. As mayor, she has focused on protecting health, fostering civic engagement, and promoting diversity. She is also a Postdoctoral Researcher at Princeton University.