// CAIR-MI Congratulates First Muslim Female State Rep
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« on: Nov 06, 2008 08:12 PM »

 salaam. this is good news alhumdulilah. Keith Ellison also got reelected. wooohoo! and Andre Carson the second muslim to be congressman also got reelected!!

CAIR-MI Congratulates First Muslim Female State Rep 
Posted 11/5/2008 6:32:00 PM

    (WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/5/08) – The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) today congratulated State Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib who will be the first Muslim female elected to the Michigan State Legislature.

Tlaib, a Detroit native of Palestinian heritage, was elected as State Representative in Michigan’s 12th legislative district, which is located in a predominately Latino community in Southwest Detroit.

In a statement, CAIR-MI) said:

“CAIR-MI congratulates Representative-elect Tlaib on her historic win in Tuesday’s election. We view her victory as a sign that Michigan Muslims are welcomed as a part of our state’s multi-faith and multi-ethnic society.”

Tlaib, an immigration attorney, has been worked as a community activist and public servant for years, previously serving as Advocacy Coordinator for Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) and staff member for Majority Floor Leader of the Michigan House of Representatives Steve Tobocman.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

CONTACT: CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, Tel: 248-559-2247, E-Mail: dwalid@cair.com

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« Reply #1 on: Nov 07, 2008 04:00 PM »

First female Muslim elected Michigan legislature!

DETROIT – Michigan is getting its first female Muslim legislator, thanks in large part to her Jewish boss, the incumbent.

Rashida Tlaib, a lawyer, community activist and daughter of Palestinian immigrants, easily won a House seat in Tuesday’s general election after emerging from an eight-way Democratic primary with 44 percent of the vote in August.

Tlaib, 32, said she wouldn’t have run but for the repeated urging of Democratic state Rep. Steve Tobocman, who is stepping down because of term limits. Once she decided to run, she threw herself into it, knocking on 8,000 doors and hitting each household twice.

Southeastern Michigan has about 300,000 people with roots in the Arab world, but few of them live in Tlaib’s largely black and Hispanic district in southwest Detroit.

“We view her victory as a sign that Michigan Muslims are welcomed as a part of our state’s multi-faith and multiethnic society,” said Dawud Walid, Michigan director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

According to the American Muslim Alliance, only nine Muslims were serving in state legislatures nationwide before Tuesday’s elections, and only one of them is a woman. There are two Muslim members of Congress — Democrats Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Andre Carson of Indiana.

The Michigan Legislature’s first known Muslim member, James Karoub, served three terms in the state House in the 1960s.

Tobocman said he first met Tlaib about five years ago when she was working for the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, where she did advocacy work for immigrants.

“I was just really, really impressed,” he said. When he later became majority floor leader and got another staff slot, he recruited Tlaib for the job. He said she brings a passion for social justice and the ability to work with people across the political aisle with very different outlooks.

“She’s someone who just intuitively understood the process right off the bat,” Tobocman said.

The election was only one of many firsts for Tlaib. The eldest of 14 children of a retired Ford Motor Co. worker and his wife, she was the first in her family to earn a high school diploma. She went on to finish college and law school while helping raise 13 siblings.

“My parents … are amazing Americans,” she said. “They never thought this would ever happen.”
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 13, 2008 07:36 PM »

her interview with Islamonline:

Rashida Tlaib has won a seat in the Michigan legislature, becoming the first Muslim woman ever to serve in the state legislature.

WASHINGTON — Rashida Tlaib, 32, has made history by grabbing a seat in the Michigan legislature, becoming the first Muslim woman ever to serve in the state legislature.
"Allah had chosen me for this job which I did not know before," Tlaib, the eldest daughter of Palestinian immigrant parents, told IslamOnline.net in an exclusive interview.

Tlaib, a lawyer and community activist who had never thought of coming into politics, easily won a seat in Michigan House of representatives on November 4, the day of the historic White House elections.

She defeated her Republican opponent by a 9 to 1 margin in her southwest Detroit district, largely populated by blacks and Hispanics.

"My parents had taught me the importance of hard work, honesty and commitment. And those values today paid me in the form of being electing to the prestigious position of Michigan State Legislature, representing a diverse community of Latino, African American and Arabs," Tlaib said proudly.

Born in Michigan, she is the eldest of her 13 siblings of Palestinian parents who migrated to the US in the early 1970s.

Her father was born in Beit Hanina, a suburb of Al-Quds, while her mother was raised in Beit Ur El Foka, near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"I had to take care of all of younger brothers and sisters because I was the first in my family to have earned a high school degree," she recalls.

"It was a tough task to continue my studies while working full-time."

She also feels indebted to outgoing Democratic Rep. Steve Tobocman, the majority floor leader.

"I would have never been here today, if my Jewish boss and predecessor Steve Tobocman had not encouraged me to venture into politics," he said.

"I got my inspiration from Tobocman who insisted that I must take part in the elections."

Tobocman had recruited Tlaib years ago to serve as part of his House staff in recognition of her passion for social justice and ability to work with people across the political aisle.

He encouraged her to run for his seat because he could not couldn't seek re-election over term limits.

Tlaib, who earned her political science bachelor degree in 1998 and law degree in 2004, believes her election to the State Legislature debunks many myths.

"There was a lot of propaganda against me in some of the local press that she is a Muslim extremist and that her election to the state legislature will send negative signals and that she will work only for the rights of Muslim community," she remembers.

"But I didn't care and never attacked any of my seven opponents. I just kept working work. I campaigned door-to-door, and I think it was my aggressive door-knocking campaign of around 8000 families that paid me back a lot."

Tlaib said the voters were interested in her commitment for the social service and not to her religious or ethnic background.

"There were only 2 percent Arab Muslims in my constituency. Majority of the voters were Latino who made 40 percent and African Americans who were 25 percent," she explained.

"But ninety percent of them voted me, which is a great signal of optimism for American Muslims.

"If any Muslim or even a woman want to achieve something, she needs only a hard work and honesty."

According to the American Muslim Alliance, only nine Muslims were serving in state legislatures nationwide before Tuesday's elections.

Tlaib insists that as a Democratic Representative for Michigan State Legislature, she will be pursuing policy change in the larger interest of the community.

"As a lawyer and social activist, I was already working for social justice, immigrant and civil rights for people in the Southwest Detroit."

She used to provide social and advocacy services to thousands of Southwest Detroit families through the Latin Americans for Social & Economic Development (LASED), the Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services (ACCESS), the International Institute of Metro Detroit and the Neighborhood Tax Center.

Proud Muslim 
Tlaib is a mother of three-year-old Adam.

Though she is living happily with her husband Fayez, she is still taking care of some of her siblings, providing them proper education and guidance.

"Though I don't wear hijab but I am a practicing Muslim, performing five times prayers daily and will be carrying along my prayer rug to my office in Lansing," she told IOL referring to the headquarters of the Michigan legislature.

"I am sure wearing hijab or following Islam is not an obstacle here in achieving one's goals, provided there is commitment and persistent efforts," she said emphatically.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tlaib had to struggle hard for the rights of immigrant families in her community especially Arab Muslims.

But finally she succeeded in getting back their civil liberties and restoring their image and confidence.

In 2007, Tlaib was selected as fellow by Michigan Center for Progressive Leadership in recognition of her leadership skills.

"Like many other immigrant Americans, my family too had an American Dream, and today it got materialized," she told IOL.

"I fee myself fortunate enough to serve the community where I grew up and which shaped me in a Muslim representative woman that I am today."

Source: IslamOnline.net
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