Muslim Candidate: Leave Religion Out of Politics

Published March 21, 2004

| FoxNews.com

If Jamil Imran wins his bid for the Georgia House, he will become the Peach State's first and only Muslim (search) legislator.

But Imran, born in Bangladesh (search) and an American citizen since 2000, said his religious and ethnic background should have no bearing on his political future.

"First of all, I'm an American and then I'm also a Democrat and I happen to also be Muslim," Imran said.

Georgia's legislative districts currently face legal challenges, which Imran says could affect whether he stays in the race. But for now, he's actively campaigning in a district that is both ethnically diverse and predominantly minority.

Imran's Democratic primary challenger Annette Gelbrich says the race is about experience, not ethnicity, but at least one political analyst suggests Imran's immigrant status may actually help him.

"When someone is the first in their community running, and he is a new American citizen — about four years, what happens is the money comes in from that community," said analyst Martha Zoller. "The Bangladeshi community in Gwinnett County (search) is a very wealthy community."

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/2004/03/21/muslim-candidate-leave-religion-out-politics