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Meet the first Muslim chaplain appointed to California's state legislature

Anthony Rendon, the speaker of the California State Assembly, stated, "Imam Yasir Khan represents California's growing diversity in all the best ways."

Meet the first Muslim chaplain appointed to California's state legislature
Image Source: kurtriveratv / Twitter

Imam Mohammad Yasir Khan has made history in the state of California after being appointed to its legislature. He is the first Muslim man to have achieved the feat. He was appointed as the assembly chaplain for the 2021-22 session by Anthony Rendon, the speaker of the California State Assembly, on December 7, CNN reports. Khan has, for the past six years, served as the chaplain at his local county jails, sheriff's offices, and hospitals. Additionally, he is the founder and president of al-Misbaah, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving all those in need within his community.



 

"Imam Yasir Khan represents California's growing diversity in all the best ways," speaker Rendon affirmed in a statement. "I've seen the growth of the Islamic community in my own district and have become close to both religious and civic leaders. Like them, Khan shows a strong desire to contribute to the spiritual and civic vitality of California. He has already done so in many ways." As the State Assembly chaplain, Khan will say a prayer at the beginning of each session. He hopes to use this opportunity as a way to bring the community together.



 

He shared in an interview with CNN, "God allowed me to be here and I am humbled and grateful to have been chosen for this role. I hope this is a step for other imams and other Islamic leaders in the country to take on positions so we are able to connect with our local communities on the county, city, state, and federal level. One of the objectives of my life is to develop an understanding that members of the American Muslim community are Americans, we are contributors to society, we care about hunger, we care about poverty." One of the main initiatives of al-Misbaah is the organization's collaboration with the Sacramento Food Bank. Through this partnership, they provide food distributions across Sacramento. Further to this, al-Misbaah provides low-income families with vehicles to help them become more mobile.



 

"I sincerely want to do whatever I can do to show our fellow Americans that we want to celebrate diversity and make this world a better place for everybody," Khan added. "We're not an exclusive group of people living in America, we are active contributors to society and we care about our communities." Some of the many folks celebrating his appointment include the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA). They applauded Rendon's appointment, as it is a recognition of the contributions the Muslim community has made to the state.



 

Basim Elkarra, the executive director of CAIR-Sacramento Valley, stated, "Imam Yasir Khan is an incredible, selfless individual who helps support and feed thousands of families each month through al-Misbaah. This appointment sends a message of inclusion, that American Muslims are an integral part of our society. Despite all the hate Muslims have faced during four years under Trump's administration, our community is resilient and continues to help and play critical roles in all aspects of society."



 

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