California: Making political history, two dozen
Muslims have been elected delegates of the Democratic Party in the
US state of California, a move seen as a milestone for the sizable
“California Muslims made political history when 28 Muslim
candidates were elected by Democrats as delegates and alternate
delegates to the California Democratic Party (CDP),” the CDP said
in a statement.
“This constitutes the largest number
of Muslims ever elected as delegates in California", it added.
Elections were held
recently to pick up delegates of the party in California’s 80
assembly districts. At least 36 Muslims were among hundreds of
candidates who have run in the vote for CDP delegates.
“Twenty-eight were elected (five as executive board members and
two as alternate delegates), and eight lost their races,” the
An elected delegate is able to vote on candidate endorsements and
help shape the platform of the CDP. He also approves the rules by
which the CDP functions, vote on resolutions of concern to various
communities, and choose CDP representatives to the Democratic
Delegates are also responsible for attending the
annual state-wide convention. The CDP has approximately 3000
delegates, some of whom are appointed by elected officials. About
one-third of delegates are elected every odd numbered year through
elections divided by assembly district.
Twelve individuals (six
women and six men) from each assembly district are elected as
delegates to serve a two year term to the Democratic State Central
The election is hailed as a political milestone for American
“This is an incredible step for Muslims to become more
involved in the political process and make a difference for the
Muslim community and in their districts,” the CDP statement said.
US Muslims, estimated at between six to eight million, have been
playing an increasing role in the American politics. Muslims have
also become an important voting bloc in the country.
Several groups as the umbrella Council on American-Islamic
Relations (CAIR) have launched initiatives to boost political
participation of US Muslims.
A campaign launched by CAIR before
the November election included a presidential voter guide, an
online voter registration tool and a video promoting online voter
The campaign also encouraged Muslims
to volunteer in election campaigns, host candidate forums and
mobilize community members to vote in the elections.
Although the Muslim population in
the US may be small, the voting power of this group could become
significant in a close election as a significant number of US
Muslims live in key swing states such as Michigan, Ohio, Florida