Maha Hasan is hoping to make history as the first Muslim American candidate elected to the Justice Public Library board. She is one of seven Muslims on ballots in municipal elections being held in suburban Chicago on April 5th. Five are women.
VOA NEWS – “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.
Maha and her sisiter 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. (The Middle East is becoming less secular and more Islamic)
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. (Why does everything revolve around Peter King? Do they have something to hide? Apparently)
ELECTION RESULTS 4/6/11
SW Side -Even though many of the candidates had the backing of local political leaders, organizations and the dominant political parties, most of the Arab and Muslim candidates who ran for office were defeated. (Thank God!)
The only victors were those who were running in uncontested races. Only a few, non-Arab Muslims, were elected in areas where Muslims have held public office. In those cases, only one received among the highest votes of the winning candidates, while in almost every other uncontested race, the Arab and Muslim candidates received the lowest vote victories.
Muslim candidates who won include:
Ahmed M. Aduib who ran and won uncontested in the race for a 6 year term on the Bridgeview Library District. Aduib had the support of incumbent Bridgeview Mayor and State Senator Steven Landek. Most offices in Bridgeview were uncontested reflecting a rare community harmony compared to other suburban communities where elections were contentious.
Nuha Hasan won a 4 year seat on the Justice Park District Board where she was also uncontested.
Those are the only success stories. Other races showed the disconnect between mainstream American voters and American candidates of Arab and Muslim heritage. Ironically, all of the communities have large Arab and Muslim populations.
In the contested races, Muslims who lost include:
Maha Hasan ran in last place for a 6 year seat on the Justice Library Board. She received nearly one-third fewer votes than the highest vote-getter in the election.
Bassam Abdallah ran in last place for a six year seat on the Orland Park Library District Board, a community where there is a large American Arab and Muslim population.
Lina Zayed came in 5th place out of 7 candidates running.
Itedal Shalabi running for a four year seat on the North Palos School District 117 seat, lost by a large margin.
Rola Othman also ran in last place in a contest for a four year seat on the Reavis High school district 220 board, also in Burbank where Arab and Muslim populations are large.