Mark Herring, current state senator and democratic candidate for Attorney General of Virginia, announced on August 8, 2013 the formation of a “Muslims for Herring” coalition led by six members of the Northern Virginia Muslim community.
Herring represents Virginia’s District 33 which consists of parts of Loudon County and Fairfax County, and often reaches out to his large Muslim constituency which includes ADAMS Islamic Center in Northern Virginia. “He [Herring] is very committed to representing them fully,” said co chair of the Muslims for Herring coalition Yasmine Taeb.
All of the co-chairs of Muslims for Herring know Senator Herring personally, whether it be through working with him or organizing events for him. “The coalition is comprised of like minded people that believe in similar issues. It’s a way for Herring to excite the people that share his vision and try to get them out to vote,” said Babur Lateef, a Muslims for Herring co -chair.
The coalition helps introduce Herring to the community, whether it is through Pakistan Day celebrations that Herring attended, or ifaar dinners and jummah prayers, all are put together by Muslims for Herring.
“We make sure Senator Herring will be at events and have a booth so that he can talk about his candidacy and vision,” said Babur Lateef. “We try to do all that we can to give him exposure.”
As a state senator, Herring has dealt with foreign law bills targeting Sharia law, and as Attorney General he hopes to protect the elderly and the youth. He has worked closely with law enforcement to keep drugs off the shelves in hopes to eliminate threats to the safety of the youth. He has stood with legislation that targets those that would commit financial scams against senior citizens. Herring also fights to protect the civil rights and liberties of minority groups. “Herring doesn’t care whether you’re black, brown, green, purple or yellow, he believes that you should be represented,” said Babur Lateef.
Senator Herring has addressed social issues and immigration and is for the expansion of Medicaid and Medicare. “The healthcare bill that Herring supports is incredibly important for the Muslim community and for immigrants and it affects almost every family in the state,” stated Babur Lateef.
The attorney general is the chief legal advisor to the state government. In some states, the state attorney general also serves as the head of the state department of justice. As Attorney General, Mark Herring says he hopes to put aside political posturing and deal instead with issues that Virginians face day to day.
Muslims for Herring has organized various events that allow community members to connect with Senator Herring on a personal level. “We’ve held town hall at ADAMS where we have invited Senator Herring to meet with the community,” said Yasmine Taeb. Community members are able to voice their concerns directly to Herring.
Herring’s campaign reached out to the co-chairs personally, asking if they would be interested in bringing support to Senator Herring specifically from the Muslim community of Northern Virginia. Muslims for Herring is not the only coalition that exists in the area, however, it is different than most as it is a formal coalition that consists of Muslims. “I’ve seen a lot of political collations on social media such as Twitter and Facebook and coalitions… and at the federal level… but we received a very formal launch through Senator Herring’s press release,” said Yasmine Taeb.
As a group, the coalition keeps the community connected to everything Mark Herring. They send out emails to inform the community of new events that are coming up related to Senator Herring, and organize events where Senator Herring can meet with his constituents. Muslims for Herring hopes that their efforts will drive as many people as possible to support Senator Herring in the election for Attorney General of Virginia on November 5, 2013 against opponent Mark Obenshain.