WASHINGTON: Twenty-four-year-old Democrat Abrar Omeish made history on Tuesday as both the youngest woman and first Muslim woman to hold elected office in Virginia’s history.
Omeish shares that second accolade with Indian-American Democrat Ghazala Hashmi after the latter unseated incumbent Republican Glen Sturtevant in the state Senate.
Omeish, a second-generation graduate of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) made her own youth and her campaign’s youth a big part of her identity.
With 98.77 percent of precincts reporting, Omeish had received 161,097 votes (unofficial)—the second most among at-large candidates.
Omeish is the daughter of Esam and Badria Omeish, who immigrated from Libya to the United States.
“Abrar’s campaign worked hard to elevate young voices and those of underserved and underrepresented communities, proactively reaching out to constituencies who have otherwise not been engaged by registering 1,500 new voters and training hundreds of new volunteers,” Omeish’s campaign said in a statement celebrating her victory to an at-large seat.
“She strives towards facilitating a school system that believes fully in the potential of the leader in every child and believes that the investment in that child is worthwhile no matter their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status,” the campaign continued.
Omeish had been in the news earlier in 2019 after an encounter with Fairfax County Police after she was allegedly stopped for a traffic violation. She was pepper-sprayed and forced to remove her headscarf for resisting arrest.
Following her stunning victory, Hashmi, a retired professor, and community college administrator will now represent Virginia”s 10th Senate district.
The other two Muslim men ― Democrats Ibraheem Samirah and Sam Rasoul ― currently serve in Virginia’s General Assembly.
Samirah, a Palestinian American dentist from Herndon easily beat Republican Gregg G. Nelson and independent Connie H. Hutchinson.
There were several Muslim women, reported by the Huffington Post who made headlines in the United States on Tuesday.
Safiya Khalid became the first Somali-American to be elected in Maine to the Lewiston City Council.
Nadia Mohamed became the first Somali-American and the First Muslim to be elected to the St. Louis Park City Council in Minnesota.