The post 9/11 period and resurgence of several Islamic extremist groups cultivated the rise and spread of Islamophobia, a plague impairing our core American values of liberty and justice for all. As a Muslim-American growing up in the 5th District, I keenly became aware of the implicit biases and attitudes targeted towards members of my faith, a realization that rattled me with anxiety and questioned my identity. 

It was Congressman Josh Gottheimer who strove to instill a voice and hope in children, like me, of all minority groups that make our nation, stressing equality for all regardless of background. It is for his vision of a promising future based on love and unity that I fully support his candidacy in the upcoming primary election.

Following the terrorist attacks launched on two mosques in New Zealand, Congressman Gottheimer visited the Dar-ul-Islah Mosque of Teaneck, a house of worship in which I regularly pray and study, to stand in solidarity with the grieving Muslim community of Bergen County. He delivered a powerful message to the youth, ascertaining that they are integral members of our vibrant North Jersey community. This past January, he led more than 30 Members of Congress in writing to House Leadership to pass the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act, repealing the Administration’s Muslim travel ban, preventing further bans, and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion.

We cannot hope for purposeful change in the targeting of minority groups without the support of cooperating representatives. We need a candidate who will continue to voice our concerns and actively combat intolerance. I am proud to have representatives like Josh Gottheimer who stand with religious minorities and serve to unify their values with those of New Jersey.