Anisa Abd el Fattah, an African American Muslim convert and former board member of the Council on American Islamic Relations, is running for President of the United States of America, campaigning under what she calls the “Anisa Uprising.”
Nestled in the top left side of her campaign webpage reads a hadith: The Prophet Mohammed (Salallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) was asked, “What is the best type of Jihad [struggle]?” His response: “Speaking truth before a tyrannical ruler.”
As an African American Muslim woman, Fattah is a representative of three distinct minorities often entered into the American political discourse. Though she hadn’t originally considered her triple-minority status a primary element in her decision to run for the nation’s highest office, her campaign manager, Paul Barrow, felt it was an opportunity to appeal to members of the often “disenfranchised” public.
“You are everything it that is kind of not popular right now so a lot of groups are going to be listening closely to hear what part of your campaign is going to speak to their unique perspectives,” Fattah recalled Barrow saying.
Her religion will likely be a large point of discussion throughout her campaign. However, she insisted, it has no bearing on her perspectives as a candidate.
“Being a Muslim has an impact on me. Islam has an impact on me. Islam has shaped me but Islam does not shape the perspective on the issues because I’m not in a Muslim country,” she said.
Fattah, who describes her campaign as a rebellion or an uprising and even a peaceful “intifada,” said she’s unconcerned by the choice of rhetoric in light of her background.
“Uprising and rebellion are very much a part of American speech and American history...These things have historical reference in United States,” said Fattah.
The primary focus of the Anisa Rebellion is the repeal of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“The whole idea that the government has the right to pass these laws that completely violated the Constitution...we want to know why?” said Fattah.
The situations involving Kashmir and Palestine are also high on Fattah’s agenda.
“We are not looking at the situation because it’s Israel or because its Kashmir, we are looking at international law. Why doesn’t international law apply to these situations?”
While both regions have large Muslim populations, Fattah said her stance on the issues has little to do with religion but rather a strong belief in the equality of law.
“We want to attack this idea that there is a chosen people who can live above the law,” she said.
Still, she admitted she feels as though Muslim countries are often subject to different rules.
“We want to know why the sovereignty of Muslim countries is never respected...How come this is 2012 and we still have colonization and ethnic cleansing going on and no one wants to talk about it,” she said.
The issue of Muslims and law has become a common topic in recent political discourse. Whispers over the implementation of Shariah law in the United States has raised questions about the legitimacy of such concerns, one which many Muslim organizations have deemed an impossibility.
Newt Gingrich recently stated that he would support a Muslim candidate for president if the candidate were to “abandon Shariah law.”
Fattah said such comments were a “non issue.”
“As a candidate in the United States I do not feel it is my duty or my obligation to impose Shariah law and in fact Islam would prohibit that,” she said.
Fattah has faced some public criticism in the past, some accusing her of having terrorist ties. While she vehemently denies any truth to those allegations she continues to assert her strong opinions on issues that gave birth to such allegations.
“I believe that Hamas has the right to exist,” said Fattah. “You can’t disarm one side while arming another side...When you balance power you have peace. Balanced power is a deterrent to aggression.”
Fattah said her platform isn’t propped up on theories and hopes but rather solid ideas and a firm grasp on reality.
We are realists. We think that everyone in society has to work together. Our model is cooperation, not competition,” she said.
While many may question the ability for the “Anisa Rebellion” to make its way to the White House, Fattah is confident that her conviction will pave a new path to politics’ most prized position. She believes America is ready to rebel.
“The first thing people always ask me is ‘Are you serious?’ Yes I’m serious,” she said. “[Then they ask] ‘Do you think you can win?’ Yes I do.”