Democrat Andre Carson defeated his Republican rival tonight by a wide margin in a special election to replace his grandmother in representing the 7th Congressional District.
He called the win an “extremely humbling experience” and said his message of protecting Social Security, bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and fighting for jobs and health care had resonated with the voters of the 7th District.
Carson will be the first Muslim to ever represent Indiana in Congress — and only the second Muslim nationwide in Congress.
Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama congratulated Carson on “winning a hard-fought race.”
Carson's tenure is likely to be somewhat short as the regularly scheduled primary takes place in two months, and he faces numerous challengers. Still, his win is noteworthy in its own right.
I think it's interesting that both muslims in Congress are African American Democrats. In contrast, Brown Americans (aka Desis) like Bobby Jindal and rising star (you heard it here first) Amit Singh in Virginia are Republicans (thus far, of the old-fashioned, sane, fiscally-oriented variety). Neither Jindal nor Singh are muslim. Overall, though, Desis are leaning towards the Democrats, and Hillary in particular (for this cycle, anyway). I don't think that Desi-Americans can be assumed to be as reliably Democratic as African-Americans, regardless of religion. At City of Brass I have been attempting to articulate a political identity for a muslim Left, but if the GOP were ever to abandon its war on muslims, there's no guarantee that the muslim vote would stay left. It's clear though that the Desi political identity is already split left-right, the question becomes whether desi-muslims will follow or will the "Muslim" political identity override.
(via Tariq Nelson, whose blog is essential reading for African American muslim perspectives)