Muslim Democratic Club California Celebrates Election Victory
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Muslim Democratic Club California celebrates the Democratic Party’s victory in midterm elections in the State of California
The Muslim Democratic Club California celebrated the Democratic Party’s victory in the midterm elections in California. While nationally, the Democratic Party could not fare well and lost control of the House of Representatives, in California it did well and the State remained a Democratic state.
The Democrats retained control of both legislative chambers and won a major victory in the elections when voters approved Proposition 25, lowering the threshold to pass a state budget from a two-thirds vote to a simple majority.
Only one legislative seat changed hands during the midterm vote, even though all 80 Assembly seats and half the 40 Senate seats were up for election. Democrats picked up Assembly District 5 when their candidate defeated conservative Sacramento lawyer Andy Pugno, who attracted national attention because he represented supporters of the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex unions. The 2008 initiative limiting marriage to a man and a woman was overturned by a federal judge in August.
California is now one of just ten states where Democrats have control of both chambers and the Governor’s office. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, replaces Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in January.
The Muslim Democratic Club - officially known as the American Muslims and Friends Democratic Club – celebrated the victory with a grand party held at the Anarkali Restaurant in Pleasanton on November 20.
Among those who graced the victory party were: Ellen Corbett, CA State Senator; Bill Lockyer, California State Treasurer; Nadia Lockyer, Alameda County Board of Supervisors; Cheryl Cook Kallio, Member Pleasanton City Council; Lara York, Member Fremont School Board; Annu Natarajan, Member Fremont City Council and Ellis Goldberg, President of the Tri Valley Democratic Club.
Shafi Refai, President of the United Muslims of America (UMA), and a large number of Muslim activists from far and near towns joined the celebration.
Moina Shaiq, Founder President of the American Muslim Democratic Club, pointed out that the club was chartered to encourage participation of Muslims in the national political process. She said that active Muslim participation in local, state and national elections has become more important after the tragic event of 9/11.
She expressed concern over the rising negativism against Muslims during the last decade and added that the best way to overcome this trend is to actively participate in the national political process. “This is the only way to fight negative Muslim stereotypes prevailing in the country after 9/11.) This is the only way to give them visibility.”
Moina said that she founded the Muslim Democratic Club with this mission in mind. This is perhaps the only Muslim Democratic Club in the nation.
She was of the view that all politics is local and Muslims should participate in local branches of their political parties. They should become voting delegates for their party. She said that on January 8 th and 9 th, Democrats from the Assembly districts will meet to elect six male and six female delegates for the California Democratic Party. One of the 12 is elected to be the Executive Board representative while all the 12 may attend the state convention with full voting rights.
For her community activism, Moina Shaiq, was given the prestigious "Volunteer of the Year" Award by the California Democratic Party, earlier this year. She has been honored by several community organizations as well. In 2008, she received United Muslims of America’s community service award.
In 2005, Moina Shaiq co-founded the Muslim Support Network (MSN), which connects seniors with limited resources and organizes events for Muslim seniors at the Fremont Senior Center. The other co-founder of the MSN is Zia Mohsin, a community activist of the San Francisco Bay Area.