A story of hope
My story is one of hope. It’s a story of overcoming the odds. It’s a story of a kid who just wanted to give back to his community and empower other young people to do the same thing. On November 21, 2015, when then
Republican party hopeful Donald Trump said, “I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down, and I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering,” As a loyal son of Jersey City and a Muslim American, I felt I had to stand up for my hometown and all Americans who lived there.
That’s when I decided to run for office. Many oppressive forces worked collectively to make me feel as though I was not fit to be in office. I was too young, too dark, too inexperienced, and too Muslim. While I fought externally against these pressures, I also fought internally, wrestling with the idea that I hadn’t earned the right to even have my name on the ballot. I worked hard, acutely aware that the final result was in Allah’s hands.
My victory on election day, by 68 votes allowed me to become the youngest — and the first Muslim — elected official in Jersey City history.
In this role, I have worked to reform our school dress code, acquire halal food, pass resolutions recognizing several holidays and am working to start a non-profit with the goal of training the next generation of grassroots leaders.