Palestinian-American Candidate Rashida Tlaib Visits NJ

Arab-American lawyer Rashida Tlaib stated: “I will wear the traditional Palestinian dress and take my oath of office on the Quran if I win a seat in Congress. This is my promise to my parents – my Jerusalemite, Bet Hanina-born father and my mother, a farmer who was born in Beit Ur al-Fauqa – and to my Arab, Muslim, and Christian communities, and to members of my electoral district in Michigan.”

Tlaib’s announcement came during her meeting with Arab community leaders in the Arab area in Paterson, New Jersey, nicknamed “Little Ramallah.” The office of the Arab American Leadership Council, headed by Dr. Mahmoud Aql, invited Tlaib to the meeting, which was attended by more than 70 people from Arab, Palestinian, Christian and Muslim backgrounds.

Dr. Amal Al-Shrouf opened the meeting by welcoming Tlaib and the guests. She said, “Welcome Rashida, our Arab-American daughter. Rashida [comes] from us and we support her in the Congressional elections.”

Dr. Al-Shrouf added, “Rashida is from a hardworking family that consists of 14 members. She worked very hard until she became a famous and distinguished lawyer, defending freedom and citizens’ rights. She entered public service and obtained a seat in Michigan’s House of Representatives for three consecutive terms. Being young and attaining remarkable achievements, people encouraged her to run for Congress.”

Tlaib expressed her gratitude to the attendees, especially Dr. Mahmoud Aqel, Dr. Amal Al-Shrouf, Dr. Saleh Khaddash, Dr. Mazen Tinawi, and engineer Dr. Maher Abdel-qader for their efforts in making the meeting successful. She also thanked those who supported her financially and emotionally so that she can participate in the election battle on her way to Congress.

Tlaib expressed her joy and pride at meeting some of the distinguished members of the Palestinian community in the U.S., especially Abdel-qader, whom she met for the first time in the White House, during a meeting with high-ranking leaders of the Arab community in the U.S. She thanked Dr. Abdel-qader for organizing many of her visits to California, Florida, Chicago, Ohio, Washington, New York, Texas and New Jersey, and for raising funds and support for her campaign. She raised more than $200,000.

Tlaib added, “I am your daughter. In a family of 14 children and two immigrant parents from Palestine, I worked very hard to obtain a successful, honorable life. I have become a successful lawyer and a member in Michigan’s House of Representatives. Today, I am one of 10 Democratic candidates in Michigan competing for one seat in Congress to represent District 13.” She added, “Media polls show that Brenda Jones, [president of the Detroit City Council] and another candidate who’s running, and I are in the forefront of the election race. The candidate with the better chances will win the Democratic candidacy. The Democrats are the majority in District 13, and winning the party’s primary election makes winning the general election inevitable.”

She noted that the candidate’s ability to secure necessary funds, run a strong team that is able to go out and meet directly with the voters in the district, and to publicly announce their goals will enable the candidate to have a better chance of winning.

Tlaib continued, “I am running in the elections as the daughter of the Arab (Christian and Muslim) community and two immigrant Palestinian parents whose roots extend to the heart of Palestine. I have won the support of Arab community members of all ages and diverse political, economic, and social backgrounds. They helped me in all ways possible, financially and emotionally, and including on social media. They share my words so that they remain among the people, which encourages me to work persistently and increases my belief in my chances to win.”

At the end of the meeting, Tlaib thanked the attendees and asked them to continue their support for her so that she becomes the first Palestinian-American member of Congress. On behalf of her campaign and in appreciation of his efforts and support for her campaign, Tlaib presented a medal of appreciation to engineer Maher Abdel-qader, chairman of the board of the Arab American Association of Engineers and Architects, and former president of the Palestinian American Congress.

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