More Muslims, particularly women, are running for political office, spurred by the perceived erosions of their civil liberties.
The soul searching that followed the 9/11 attacks prompted more woman to step into leadership roles, a trend encouraged by the community, says Agha Saeed, founder of the American Muslim Alliance, which has been tracking Muslim candidates since 1996. Before September 11, less than 5 percent were women; now about one in three are, according to an Associated Press article.
Dozens of Muslim Americans of both genders have seats on city councils and work in Washington, DC, although few hold statewide office. Only two Muslims—Democrats Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Andre Carson of Indiana—serve in Congress. Jamilah Nasheed, an African-American convert to Islam and Missouri Democratic state representative, is one of just nine Muslim Americans in state legislatures nationwide, and the only woman, according to the alliance.
She is said to be almost certain to win reelection this year, and Muslim American women in California, Michigan and Minnesota are vying to join her.