Over the course of the next four weeks, three Muslim women will seek elected or appointed positions in Montgomery County. These women are making history; never at any time in Maryland history have so many Muslim women sought public office at the same time. Each hails from a different region of the county, and belongs to a different ethno-cultural background. All three are driven to seek office by the desire to serve the public, and set an example for young minority women everywhere. Their decision to run is a testament to what Montgomery County is, and always will be: proud of its diversity and steeped in a tradition of inclusion. Below are their names, and a brief paragraph about each candidate.
Emmalee Aman - Planning Board of Montgomery County (non-partisan)
With 1 million people living in Montgomery County, the county's planning commission is one of the most influential governmental agencies in the the DC metro region. While it is estimated that some 100,000 Muslims reside in Montgomery County, to date no Muslim has ever served on the planning board, though many have applied over the years. Given the influence the planning board has over vital matters of public planning, having the unique perspective of a Muslim American would have considerable impact on the future of the county.. Aman currently serves as the Director of Advocacy for Green Muslims of America, and is a consultant who advises clients on outreach to faithful & minority communities regarding planning and zoning matters. Aman is the youngest Muslim seeking office in the county, and lives in Germantown, Maryland.
Rida-Bukhari Rizvi - Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC)
Due to a peculiarity in Maryland law, whenever a vacancy occurs in a seat previously held by a Democrat in the county's Annapolis delegation, the MCDCC recommends a replacement to the governor, who then makes a formal appointment to the empty seat. Given that no Republican has been elected in the county since 2006 (when Jean Cryor was defeated by Craig Rice to represent Germantown & Potomac from District 15), the MCDCC reigns supreme in terms of shaping the county's state delegation. Rida Rizvi would be to date, the only Shiite Muslim elected official elected anywhere on the East Coast, and furthermore, Montgomery County's first American-born Muslim Democratic official. She serves as the political director of the Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County, the only countywide political organization working to politically empower Muslim Americans living in Montgomery County. She lives in Burtonsville, Maryland, and is of South Asian heritage.
Nadia Syahmalina - DNC Delegate (Hillary Clinton)
Nadia Syahmalina is the first Indonesian-American to seek election in Maryland. She is also the first Muslim to appear on the ballot in Sixth Congressional District ever in history. Should she be selected as a delegate to the DNC, she might very well be the first Southeast Asian Muslim to ever attend a national party convention as an elected delegate. She is a former board member of the nation's only Indonesian community mosque, IMAAM, and is the vice president of the Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County. She lives in Darnestown, Maryland, but also has roots in Rockville and Silver Spring, Maryland.