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Hyderabad-Born Ghazala Hashmi Becomes Virginia’s First Muslim State Senator

Hyderabad-born former college professor Ghazala Hashmi has created history by becoming the first Muslim woman elected to Virginia’s state Senate.

Hashmi, a Democrat who ran for public office for the first time, unseated Republican state Sen. Glen Sturtevant on Tuesday to represent the state’s 10th Senate District.

In a series of tweets sent out Tuesday night, Hashmi thanked her supporters for the win and said, “This victory is not mine alone. It belongs to all of you who believed that we need to make progressive change here in Virginia.”

Hashmi came from India to the United States with her family 50 years ago at the age of 4. According to her campaign website, she was raised in a small town in Georgia where she “saw firsthand how community-building and open dialogue can bridge cultural and socioeconomic divisions.”

In 1991, she who earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University and a PhD from Emory University moved to Richmond, Virginia with her husband. For the past 25 years, she’s devoted her career to being an educator in the state. Before winning her election, she served as the Founding Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Reynolds Community College in Richmond.

Abrar Omeish

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24-year-old Abrar Omeish joined Hashmi as one of the first Muslim women to hold elected office in Virginia’s history by winning her race for one of three vacant seats on the Fairfax County School Board. She’s also the youngest woman in the state’s history to hold elected office.

Their win comes at a time when a growing number of Muslim women are foraying into US politics. It was only last year that Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib became the first two Muslim women to make it to US Congress.

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