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Utah Muslim making her mark in Charlotte

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — History is being made at the Democratic National Convention this week as record number of American Muslim delegates are in attendance, representing 20 states. One of those delegates calls Utah home.

Noor Ul-Hasan is a Muslim woman who lives in Cottonwood Heights. But this week she is thrilled to be in Charlotte, N.C., participating in the Democratic process.

"It's kind of like going to a concert," Ul-Hasan said Wednesday. "You know, you're like so thrilled that you're so close. I want to be so close that sweat comes on me."

She wasn't hoping a rock star's sweat fell on her, but that of Michelle Obama's.


"I have so much respect for her, because she is able to support President Obama," Ul-Hasan said, "and I like the fact she said, you know, he was a great man before she married him, and after four years, the struggles that he has had to go through, she admires him even more."

Ul-Hasan lives in Cottonwood Heights. She's a mom, a wife, a Democratic delegate and a Muslim. "I guess (I'm) a minority in Utah, really," she said.

According to a national Muslim advocacy group, there are more than 100 Muslim delegates at the Democratic Convention — more than double the number from four years ago, quadruple the number from 2004, and many more than attended the Republican National Convention last week.

"I feel really excited to show that Muslims are involved in politics, that we are involved in our communities, we are involved in getting people to vote," Ul-Hasan said.

She caught the political bug from her father, a blue-collar worker born in India.

"My father always told us we were born-Democrats, and that's what I always say. So, there's no choice for me," she said with a chuckle.

I feel really excited to show that Muslims are involved in politics, that we are involved in our communities, we are involved in getting people to vote.

–Noor Ul-Hasan, Utah delegate

It's no secret both Democrats and Republicans are looking to women for votes. Obama has a slight lead in national polls, which some attribute it to his support from that key demographic group.

"I definitely think this is a big moment for Muslims and women," Ul-Hasan said.

Being a first-time delegate, attending the convention with her fellow Utah Democrats is a big moment for Ul-Hasan.

"This is a melting pot of a bunch of different people, and a bunch of different faiths, and it's time that every one of us are important," she said.

There are about 25,000 Muslims in Utah, and more than 3 million in America. It's evident they represent a small, but growing, voting bloc.


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RaeAnn Christensen and John Daley


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