Indiana elects its first Muslim state senator
Palestinian-American Fady Qaddoura won with 52.5 percent of the vote, flipping the Midwestern state's Senate District 30 from Republican to Democrat.
Qaddoura, a 40-year-old father of two, told the IndyStar that his goal was to "serve every person in the community, regardless of your political persuasion".
"While I'm an immigrant who happens to be the first Muslim to win a seat in the state of Indiana, what motivates me and excites me is I'm going to spend every ounce of strength to fight for every individual in our state," he said.
Issues including education, healthcare and economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic are "not defined by faith", Qaddoura added.
Qaddoura immigrated to the United States from Jerusalem, originally settling in New Orleans before moving to Indiana following 2005's devestating Hurricana Katrina.
"As a public servant, my life story began as an immigrant who went homeless," he told the IndyStar, referring to the loss of his family's home in the hurricane. "When you go through tough times in life and struggle, you learn what matters the most."
"Only in America can someone immigrate to this country, work hard, and earn the trust of tens of thousands of voters to become the first Muslim State Senator in Indiana's history," he said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
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While the first to be elected to the Indiana Statehouse, Qaddoura is not the state's first Muslim lawmaker.
Democrat Andre Carson has served as one of the state's representatives in the US House of Representatives since 2008.
Carson was one of three Muslim politicians re-elected to Congress this week. He is joined by Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American Democrat from Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American Democrat from Michigan.
Qaddoura was not the only Palestinian-American elected to a state legislature on Tuesday.
Iman Jodeh likewise became the first Muslim lawmaker to be elected to her state's legislature after winning the race for a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives.
In Oklahoma, Mauree Turner became the first Muslim to be elected to that state's House of Representatives and the first non-binary person to be elected to any state legislature.
Madinah Wilson-Anton, Samba Baldeh and Christopher Benjamin also set records, becoming the first Muslims to be elected to the Delaware Statehouse, Wisconsin State Assembly and Florida Statehouse respectively.
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