Muslim-American Massachusetts activist launches run for Congress

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Scott Malone 3 Min Read FILE PHOTO: Nadeem Mazen, Cambridge city councillor, Muslim and founder of JetPAC, speaks to students in the AP Government class at Al-Noor Islamic high school in Mansfield, Massachusetts, U.S. February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Nadeem Mazen, Cambridge city councillor, Muslim and founder of JetPAC, speaks to students in the AP Government class at Al-Noor Islamic high school in Mansfield, Massachusetts, U.S. February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) – A two-term Cambridge, Massachusetts, city councilor and founder of an activist group that trains Muslim-Americans to run for office launched a campaign for U.S. Congress on Sunday that could make him the third Muslim in the chamber.

Nadeem Mazen, 34, was set to declare his run as a Democrat for a district northwest of Boston, a seat that comes open next year as 71-year-old Representative Niki Tsongas opts not to seek a sixth term in office.

The state’s best-known Muslim elected official, Mazen plans to focus his campaign on economic issues. His attempt to jump from a municipal office to Congress is in keeping with the spirit of Jetpac, the activist group he launched in February aimed at encouraging more Muslims to seek elected office.

 

He is also prepared to face questions about his faith, as polls show many Americans take a dim view of Muslims, their memories colored by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

“People don’t understand what it means to me to have a Muslim faith and to believe that faith compels me to serve every American and to serve the Constitution,” Mazen said in an interview.

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