Religious discrimination and an increase in hate crimes has spurred more Muslims to run for office and adopt an active role in community organizing
More Muslims must seek public office as Donald Trump fans the flames of Islamophobia, according to Andr Carson, who is one of just two Muslim members of the US Congress.
The congressman from Indiana spoke as Muslim communities across the US voice fears of a growing climate of Islamophobia under the US president.
Carson criticised Trump in an interview with the Guardian, adding that while there is no easy answer, misconceptions over the Islamic faith perpetuated by the administration should serve as motivation for more Muslims to engage in the political process.
I think theyre concerned about [Trump] really encouraging the darker elements of our society to become more pronounced in their intolerance and their bigotry, Carson, a Democrat, said of the feeling among the Muslim communities he represents.
I think thats disappointing, but I think theres a silver lining, he added, and that silver lining suggests theres an increase in interest in American political life.
Carson made the comments as Guardian Films publishes a film examining community relations in Dearborn, Michigan, which is home to the biggest mosque in North America. The film features five citizens from different backgrounds, from Muslims to Christians, citizen militias and young university graduates, and explores how they see American identity, and grapple with questions of religion, race and class.
While there is not comprehensive data to provide a number of Muslims who currently hold elected office in local and state bodies around the US, religious discrimination and an increase in hate crimes has spurred more Muslims to explore politics, according to some groups that focus on representing Muslims in the government.
Informal surveys indicate New Jersey leading the way, with at least 14 Muslim Americans currently in public office.
After Trump signed an executive order seeking to ban immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries, one advocacy group, Jetpac, launched a formal campaign designed to encourage more Muslims to run for local office and adopt a more active role in community organizing.
American Muslims in Michigan have gained significant success in running for elected office, and Abdul El-Sayed, the former Detroit health commissioner, recently announced a run for governor in 2018.
El-Sayed, who would become Americas first Muslim governor if elected, said: The vote for the current president was not a vote of inspiration. It was a vote of fear and cynicism. We have to believe in the unifying idea of us the people.