After hiring a Muslim as his presidential campaign manager. Bernie Sanders appoints Somali Muslim migrant, Abshir Omar, as Iowa political coordinator.
DeplorableKel According to reports: Born in Somalia, the 28-year-old, Abshir Omar attended Iowa State University and has lived in Des Moines since 2012. Omar became highly involved in political organizing in 2016 while Trump threatened to impose a Muslim ban and refuse asylum for refugees. That made him ran for Des Moines City Council, advocating for a more just and equitable city. He ran as the first Somali, Muslim, refugee candidate in Des Moines.
Omar says that he will not only work to win for Sanders, but to complete a political revolution. According to reports, he stated:
On Bernie Sanders’ Iowa team, I’ll be working to not only win the caucus in February, but to complete a political revolution that started right here in Iowa back in 2016. This political revolution is close to my heart because it is about more than just winning an election, it is about transforming our political system into something more inclusive (in other words, MORE Muslims in power).
Sanders has also hired a Muslim, Faiz Shakir, as his presidential campaign manager.
Sanders is bending over backwards to put Muslim needs first, ahead of his formerly loyal Christian and Jewish supporters. Like Sanders, Shakir and the ACLU have come out strongly against state and national anti-BDS laws on constitutional grounds.
HEAVY Shakir, 39, the son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants, has served as the national political director of the ACLU since 2017, The Daily Beast reported Shakir started out as a junior staff research for John Kerry’s campaign in 2004, Ozy.com reported. He was also vice president for communications at the Center for American Progress, The Hill reported.
In an interview with Tablet in 2017, Shakir explained why he and the ACLU opposed the anti-BDS bill. He told Tablet: “Of course, the ACLU’s concern here is that we may be criminalizing speech, chilling speech, and chilling political beliefs—targeting certain political beliefs through this bill. The fact is that the bill as constructed would target individuals and potentially cause them legal jeopardy for expressing support of a boycott that they might feel is in their own political belief system.
Before the ACLU, Shakir was the senior advisor to Harry Reid while he was the Senate Majority Leader. Before that, he was Senior Advisor and Director of Digital Media for Nancy Pelosi.
Shakir was also the editor and founding member of ThinkProgress during the Bush and Obama administrations. At one point, he misrepresented himself as a conservative blogger while covering a Republican Senate campaign, Ozy.com pointed out. He was accused of being an anti-Semite based on tweets by people who worked under him at ThinkProgress. (Which makes him the perfect choice to run Sanders’ campaign)
IftarswithBernie Muslims for Bernie started as a grassroots network of Muslim Bernie enthusiasts across the US that coalesced around the Senator’s historic first presidential run in 2016. For many of us, it was our first time seriously participating in electoral politics and experimenting with political organizing. What excited us most was that what Bernie had launched wasn’t just a campaign: it was a people’s movement—a movement of many other movements—and we were eager to be part of it.
For Muslim and Arab Americans in particular, he made us feel a part of this country in ways many of us hadn’t felt before by being genuinely inclusive of us in his campaign and reaching out to us as partners in the fight for a more just and equitable America. This was while his opponents across the political isle were running on a campaign of hate against us.
Three years on, we’ve all been shocked and disturbed to discover just how deep and rampant that sentiment turned out to be.
WHERE WE’RE HEADED
The rise in Islamophobia is just one of the many reasons we believe it’s critical for Muslims in the US to throw our weight behind Bernie in the 2020 race. With a president in office who actively stokes violence against Muslims, the stakes have never been higher for us as a community in a presidential election—never has there been a more critical time for us as a community to be politically engaged.
Let’s be real, it’s not just our physical safety as members of a targeted minority community that’s on the line, but literally our survival as a human species given the terrifying reality we’re going to face if we don’t elect a leader who is going to do something about climate change, so we really don’t see that we have a choice but to be active. We have a lot to say as Muslims about environmental protection and racial, social, and economic justice; we can speak about these issues and others powerfully and convincingly drawing on our spiritual tradition. It’s time to make our voices heard.
And so, we’re excited to step up our game along with the Senator Sanders in 2020. We’re excited to work with you all locally and with community leaders and allies across the country to leverage this opportunity and build out the Muslim and Arab wing of Bernie’s grassroots army of volunteer organizers and supporters.
We recognize that whether we like it or not, once again, we’re going to be a major wedge issue in this upcoming 2020 election; the difference is that this time, we intend to own it. We’re going to demonstrate that being associated with Muslims is an asset to political candidates, not a liability.
Not only can we help Bernie win the 2020 election, but we can also leverage the enthusiasm for him to break down the activist silos in our wider Muslim community, organize ourselves, build our power and visibility locally and nationally as a Muslim voter bloc, and take back ownership of our narrative as Muslims in the process.