Gwinnett County

‘Herstory maker’: First Muslim women elected to state house, senate

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Two Gwinnett County women are making history by becoming the first Muslim women elected to the state Assembly.

Channel 2′s Matt Johnson was in Gwinnett County, the growing community they’ll be representing.

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Both women on Wednesday say it’s surreal to be a part of history, but it’s issues like public education and income inequality they say won them their seats.

“It’s something I never would have imagined, not even 10 years ago,” Ruwa Romman said.

When Romman wears her hijab as a representative at the Georgia Capitol next year, it’ll be a first in the state’s history.

“I think my hijab is a symbol to people that anything is possible,” Romman said.


The 29-year-old is the first Muslim woman to be elected to Georgia’s state House.

She says she overcame Islamophobic attacks during her campaign to win the seat in Gwinnett County’s 97th District.

“I was exactly who I am,” Romman said. “I was unapologetically myself, and at the same time, ... there’s more to me than just the fact I’m a Muslim woman.”

She’s not the only one who made history Tuesday.

Nabliah Islam became the first Muslim woman elected to the state Senate by winning her race in Gwinnett County’s 7th District.

“When folks went to go vote, they saw a part of themselves in my story as well,” Islam said.

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The 32-year-old Democrat will go to work at the Capitol with a progressive agenda and a hope to fight for a growing Muslim community.

“I’m so excited (for) our Muslim communities. So many communities will have a voice now,” Islam said.

Rep. Farooq Mughal also picked up a seat, and state Sen. Sheik Rahman won reelection, both in Gwinnett County districts.

The state Capitol will now be represented by a Muslim man and woman in each chamber for the first time ever in Georgia.

“We, too, can be part of the democratic process,” Islam said.

“It’s going to show the diverse nature of our community,” Romman said.

Both the new state representative and new state senator are Democrats, which is the minority party in the Assembly, but both are eager to get to work on issues like education and health care next session.