Ghazala Hashmi & Abrar Omeish

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First Muslim Women Elected to Virginia’s State Senate

Hyderabad-born Ghazala Hashmi and Libya-origin Abrar Omeish are the two first Muslim women to win elections in the United States’ southeastern State Virginia, making history in America. Hashmi, who migrated to America at a younger age, 50 years ago, is also the first Indian-American to win elections in the State, defeating incumbent Republican senator Glen Sturtevant. In her campaign, Hashmi also received support from former US President Barak Obama. She announced Obama’s endorsement on her Twitter. Hashmi, who left her job as the director of Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Reynolds Community College to campaign full time, raised three prominent issues in her campaign Education, Health and Gun Violence. Hashmi was raised in a small town in Georgia and earned a BA in English from Georgia Southern University and a Ph.D. from Emory University. She and her husband Azhar moved to the Richmond area in 1991, and she has spent the past 25 years as a leading educator in Virginia’s college and university system. The second Muslim woman who won the elections in Virginia is of Libyan-origin.Omeish, who is the daughter of Esam and Badria Omeish, emigrated from Libya to the United States. She attended a Muslim academy and apublic school in Fairfax County. She later studied at Yale University. Omeish is the co-founder of the non-profit youth-led organization GIVE: Growth and Inspiration through Volunteering and Education that provides youth with resources to excel in education and leadership.

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