Tuesday saw primary elections in several states, including Michigan, a state which featured heavy political activity by prominent Islamists. Partly this is due to the deep-pocketed donors presently or formerly on the board of CAIR-Michigan, particularly Yahya Basha, a successful radiologist and former CAIR board member who donates lavishly to Democrats and some Republicans, and who has been involved in Islamist organizations for decades. Partly, however, this is due to several races featuring Muslim candidates that attracted enthusiastic Islamist backers from around the country, particularly Abdul El-Sayed and Rashida Tlaib.
Abdul El-Sayed, Democratic candidate for governor of Michigan, put in a strong showing with 30% of the vote; but he lost the Democratic nomination to Gretchen Whitmer. (El-Sayed's father-in-law, Jukaku Tayeb, is a senior official of CAIR-Michigan, and El-Sayed himself was active in his university's chapter of MSA.) El-Sayed's campaign received over $50,000 in donations from prominent Islamists in the Islamist Money in Politics (IMIP) database—more than any other politician in the country, state or Federal, during this election cycle. El-Sayed announced that he intends to support Whitmer in the general election, and he will likely remain active in politics in the future.
The second race with heavy Islamist involvement was Rashida Tlaib's candidacy in Michigan's U.S. House District 13, the seat of disgraced Rep. John Conyers (D), who resigned after a spate of sexual-harassment allegations. Tlaib won a close Democratic primary with 31%, over Brenda Jones with 30%. Confusingly, there was also a special primary to serve out the final two months of Conyers's term, which Jones won 37% to 35% for Tlaib. No Republicans or independents ran for the seat, so Jones will serve in the House for two months before Tlaib takes the seat in January.
Tlaib (pronounced "Taleeb") had raised more money than her competitors by far—much of which came from outside of Michigan, thanks to the strong support of national Islamist organizations such as CAIR, Emgage, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). FEC data is still coming in, but Tlaib has currently raised the most from IMIP figures out of all Federal candidates in the 2018 election cycle—over $27,600. (Tlaib's donors include leading officials of CAIR, MPAC, and the Muslim-American Society.) Her take was even higher than that of perennial Islamist favorite Keith Ellison, who had raised some $27,000 before declaring his candidacy for attorney general of Minnesota.
Races to watch within the next month include:
- In Minnesota, Ilhan Omar is one of several Democratic candidates running to replace Keith Ellison in the House. A Somali refugee, she has already received thousands of dollars from IMIP figures; she drew controversy for tweets accusing Israel of "hypnotizing the world" and of "evil doings." Her primary is on August 14th.
- In Arizona, former CAIR and MAS director Deedra Abboud is running for the Democratic nomination for Senate against Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. She has attracted little IMIP support, oddly enough. The Arizona primary is August 28th.
- In Massachusetts, CAIR board member Tahirah Amatul-Wadud is running for Congress against powerful incumbent Democrat Richard Neal. Amatul-Wadud has racked up endorsements by several Progressive activist groups; but she is also connected to the Pakistani extremist group Jamaat al-Fuqra. Her primary is September 4th.