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First Muslim elected to Indiana Senate

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Muslim for the first time has a seat in the Indiana Senate. He beat out the incumbent to claim the spot. Supporters said this isn’t just a big win for the Muslim community, but a win for any Hoosier looking to make Indiana a better place.

Democrat Fady Qaddoura beat out incumbent Republican state Sen. John Ruckelshaus to take over District 30. Qaddoura said there are a lot of issues that are important to him; a top priority is education. But making sure people have diverse representation in local government is too.

The road to the statehouse is one Qaddoura had faith he’d see. He’s the first Muslim set to take office in the Indiana State Senate.

“For the fact that I’m standing before you as senator-elect, who came to the United States as an immigrant, who happens to be a Muslim. Is a testament to the fact that things are possible in our state,” he said.

Going up against an incumbent as a Democrat may have seemed to some a far reach. But Qaddoura said when your focus is on making Indiana a better place, Hoosiers can latch onto the idea.

“This election showed us that we can definitely come together. We can as Americans celebrate our values,” said Hiba Alami, executive director of the Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network.

Qaddoura had several priority issues in this race. Including, common sense gun reform, infrastructure, affordable health care, education and more.

“We need to stabilize our educational system by investing in teachers and making sure teachers and students are protected in our school,” he said. “That our schools are fully funded. that our teachers get the pay increases they deserve.”

As Muslims continue to face adversity, this win is big.

“The community is overjoyed and we’re very proud that this is definitely a historic moment for the community,” said Alami.

But Qaddoura said his win will cross religious, ethnic and partisan lines.

“I want to be sure that I create that path not only for American Muslims in Indiana but for every person who feels I need someone to represent me.”