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Best Ever Muslim Political Rally

By Adil James, TMO


Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI-9th) speaks to the Pakistan American Caucus.

This Sunday witnessed what was likely the best ever Muslim political rally in Michigan history.

The Pakistan American Caucus, Michigan Democratic Party, hosted numerous Democratic candidates at a boisterous, well organized, and well-attended forum at the Troy Community Center from 3PM to 7PM.  Present was an audience of about 400, and candidates and elected officials who numbered about 40.

The Pakistani American Caucus is headed by directors Abid Jamil and Abid Khan.  The prominent radio personality Faiz Khan is a member of its Executive Committee and served in a prominent role at the function Sunday.

The Pakistan American Caucus’s theme for the event was “Come and Help Democrats Win in November 2014” and in response the Democratic political candidates thronged for support in votes, money, volunteers and a chance to practice their stump speeches in preparation for the November contest.

Many of those who spoke gave excellent and interesting speeches, but the tenor of the event was an upbeat and partisan Democratic campaign rally, attempting to gather support and momentum in the face of a relatively ominous election cycle. 

2014 is expected to show marked gains for Republicans, especially in Federal congressional races.  The landscape for Democrats in Michigan is fairly bleak, with Republicans holding both legislatures and the governor’s mansion, and also other prominent posts including attorney general and secretary of state positions.  No real shift is expected in this status quo this election season, although the fortunes of individual candidates may be better than the overall Democratic ticket.

Lon Johnson, the Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, explained what changes the MDP has made and is making in order to win more seats in elections–and the focus of this change is on building turnout during off-year elections such as this 2014 cycle.  He also emphasized that the Democratic party is more embracing and open and less exclusive by comparison with the Republicans.

Two prominent people in attendance, even by comparison with the other august people, were Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Professor Mark Totten.

Michigan State University professor and Yale Law alum Mark Totten is vying for the Michigan attorney general position, although he is polling nine points behind incumbent Republican Bill Schuette–in speaking he emphasized his impressive school and work record, and in the current race he emphasized what he called Schuette’s extremism  in relation to immigration and healthcare.

Michigan’s violent term-limits are forcing churning in congress–this will result in the loss of Rashida Tlaib from the Michigan House of Representatives–Tlaib is forced to run against an entrenched incumbent Democrat for entry into the Michigan Senate.

The Democrats who spoke mostly echoed old populist themes of fighting for the middle class against a Republican party which has become the mouthpiece of those with money who wish to use their money and power to buy the ability to obtain more money and power through control of the political process.

A few of the candidates gave tailor-made speeches which visibly struck the hearts of those listening.  There were many “Salaam aleikums” from the politicians, and even one “Bismillahir Rahman ir Rahim” from Anil Kumar.

Dr. Anil Kumar caught the hearts of those in attendance by saying “I speak your language, I eat your food, I wear your clothes–I am you!”

Another message universally proclaimed by all those who spoke was–”Get involved.”  Whoever you support, make sure your voice is heard.

The candidate who likely made the biggest splash was Harvey Santana–“Be relevant in this process,” he said.  “If you don’t vote, you don’t matter.  If you don’t get out there and do something, you don’t matter.”  “I don’t want to come all the way here from Lansing next time to tell you the same thing.”

Some of the prominent people in attendance were:

Elected Officials:

US Congressman Sandy Levin
Lon Johnson, MDP Chair
Council General of Pakistan, Faisal Tirmizi
County Commissioner Kalamazoo Nasim Ansari
Brenda Lawrence, Mayor Southfield, MI
State Senator Steve Bieda
State senator Coleman Young II
State Rep Rudy Hobbs
State Rep Henry Yanez
State Rep Sam Singh
State Rep Rashida Tlaib
State Rep Dian Slavens
State Rep Harvey Santana


For Attorney General, Mark Totten
For US Congress Pam Byrnes
For US Congress, BobbY McKenzie
For US Congress, Rudy Hobbs
For US Congress, Anil Kumar
For US congress, Nancy Skinners
For US congress , Henson Clark
For State Senate, Dian Slavens
For state senate, Rashida Tlaib
For state senate, Vicky Barnett
For State Rep, Natalie Mosher
For State Rep, Kristy Paigan
For State Rep, Stephanie Chang
For state rep, Tony Trupiano
For state rep, Nicole Brown
For State rep, Mary Kerwin
For State Rep, Michael Saari
Other Guests:
Ramesh Verma, Treasurer, MDP
Tej B. Jhamb, Chair Indo American Caucus
Mahendra Kenkre, Chair, Troy Democratic Club
Iqbal Faiz, Chair, Bangladeshi American Caucus
Kevin Hrit, Campaign manager, Gary Peters
Other MDP Officials

Pakistani American Caucus Board of Directors:

Faiz M. Khan, Chair
Shariq S. Sajjad
Syed Akhlaq Hussain
Muhammad Zahid
Abid Khan
Haroon Siddiqui
Nizamuddin Mohammad
Sarwat Iqbal


One comment
  1. Muhammad Hasham

    June 13, 2014 at 11:03 am

    It was awesome event and a great covering from TMO.

    Thank you Adil James.

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