New group in US state recruiting Muslim candidates to run for local, state assemblies

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WASHINGTON, May 16 (APP): A newly formed political group in the US state
of Maryland is seeking to train Muslim Americans to prepare them to contest for local
and state offices in the states in 2018, according to a report by the Washington Post.
The group said that apart from Maryland, the group will recruit hundreds
of other candidates in other states under the project called Pluralism Project to prepare
them to enter the politics at local and state level.
“If we are not at the table of democracy, we may end up on the menu of
authoritarianism. By training Muslim candidates in the skills they need to run for and win
political office, we intend to empower Muslims to take back control of their narrative in
the American experience,” said Hamza Khan, a longtime Democratic activist in
Montgomery County who is executive director of the Pluralism Project.
The move comes after a long-run presidential election campaign which saw
Muslims at the center of political sloganeering after some of the Republican candidates
made statements that fueled anti-Muslim sentiments in some parts of the country.
President Trump made the strongest statement during his election
campaign when he suggested that all Muslims should be banned from entering the United
States as part of counterterrorism strategy to stem the spread of radical Islam.
After his victory against democratic rival Hillary Clinton, President
Trump issued an executive order that barred citizens from seven largely Muslim
countries from entering the US that kicked off a storm of criticism and was stayed by
federal appeal courts in some states.
The Trump administration then issued a renewed order by dropping one
country, Iraq, from the list but that order too had been challenged in court and currently
a federal court is holding a hearing to decide whether to allow that executive order to be
implemented.
In the first phase, Khan announced the recruitment of 30 Maryland
candidates but would not reveal who they and which offices they will seek. Just about
half of the candidates are women with an average age of 39 years old, and 95 percent
of them were born in the US, Khan said.
Most of the candidates are from the Montgomery County of the Maryland
state which has the largest Muslim population.
The Pluralism Project is a hybrid PAC (Political Action Committee),
which means it is a blend of a traditional political action committee and a super PAC.
Hybrid PACs can raise unlimited amounts of cash to support candidates through
advertisements and limited amounts of money to donate directly to candidates.