Miriam Seddiq, a criminal defense and immigration attorney and Muslim woman, recently launched the first American Muslim Women political action committee tasked with urging Muslims to vote in the presidential election. The PAC, which counts Gold Star mother Ghazala Khan among its membership, formally endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton last Tuesday.
“In the simplest terms, we believe in basic human rights and the right of each individual to live their lives as they choose,” Seddiq said in the PAC’s press release. “Hillary Clinton is a candidate that not only understands those values, but has spent her life dedicated to them in her public service.”
Khan, the mother of a slain U.S. soldier, had stood by her husband, Khizr Khan, during his sharp condemnation of Donald Trump for his proposed ban on Muslim immigration and prejudicial rhetoric at the Democratic National Convention. Trump promptly hit back, telling ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that perhaps Ghazala Khan “wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”
“She took a hit for all of us, and that was part of what led me to decide I wanted to help other women speak out,” Seddiq said in an interview with the Atlantic.
According to its website, AMW PAC aims to give Muslim woman a platform to voice their own grievances and political views and to “dispel that myth” that Islam forces women to be silent. Seddiq told the Atlantic that the organization aims to raise money to run anti-Trump ads and to host a voter-registration drive.
The PAC joins a growing culture of Muslim activism, in part prompted by the Republican nominee’s anti-Muslim rhetoric throughout his candidacy. After Trump’s comments against Mrs. Khan, female Muslim activists took to Twitter under the hashtag #CanYouHearUsNow.
And during the second presidential debate, after Trump told Muslims that they should report suspected terrorist activities, activists mocked the nominee on Twitter with the hashtag #MuslimsReportStuff. Trump had previously accused Muslims of not reporting terrorists after the Orlando nightclub shooting.
During an election season that has seen the racist alt-right movement break through to the mainstream, it’s heartening to hear a chorus of marginalized voices rising as well.