Sadaf Jaffer Sworn in as America’s First Female Muslim Mayor
Montgomery Township, N.J: Sadaf Jaffer was sworn in as mayor of Montgomery Township, N.J., a rapidly growing municipality of about 25,000 north of Princeton, making her USA’s first female Muslim mayor and first female South Asian American mayor. Jaffer has a doctorate from Harvard with a specialization in Islam, gender studies and South Asian history. She also serves as a postdoctoral research associate in South Asian studies at Princeton University, where she teaches courses on South Asian, Islamic and Asian American studies.
“I decided to run for public office because I didn’t see my values reflected in my elected officials,” Jaffer said. “I’ve been a scholar and activist for some time. If you keep advocating to people who just don’t share your values, you eventually hit a wall. I also believe we shouldn’t ask others to do something we’re not willing to do ourselves. If I want people from diverse backgrounds to run for office, I should also be willing to do it myself.” Jaffer said that she used her experience as a scholar to help authorities during an anti-Muslim hate crime that happened in her town. “I was able to tap into my experience teaching a course on South Asian American literature to provide resources to government officials about Islamophobia as racism,” she said. g