Jersey City United gets endorsement of local Muslim leader in BOE race

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Jersey City United, the Board of Education slate of Luis Felipe Fernandez, Asmaa Abdalla and Matt Schapiro, recently received the endorsement of local Muslim community leader Ahmed Shedeed.

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“This is the time now that we see somebody from our community and our view … who knows the city much better than us, who might speak the better language and understand the culture running for an office,” Shedeed, the president of the Islamic Center of Jersey City, said of Adballa during a fundraiser.

“We’ve been asking for this for many, many, many years.”

Shedeed, also a member of the N.J. Homeland Security Interfaith Advisory Council, also touted Jersey City United as a whole as “a team that is working for Jersey City.”

Born and raised in Egypt, Shedeed attended President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address in January of this year. He was invited by U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).

“Because I believe in the boundless capacity of our country to rise above intolerance, fear and discrimination, and to celebrate the pluralism that makes us strong, I’ve invited New Jersey resident Ahmed Shedeed to be my guest at President Obama’s final State of the Union address on Tuesday,” Booker wrote in a Medium post.

Shedeed marks the first major public endorsement for the JCU team, who is fighting an uphill battle against the Education Matters ticket – who has the support of the local police, firefighter and teachers unions, as well as Mayor Steven Fulop.

As part of their initial campaign announcement, JCU said they would not be explicitly seeking endorsements from public officials since their campaign is “based on the strength of our relationships in this community,” Schapiro said at the time.

Election Day is November 8, where 10 candidates are seeking three, three-year terms on the Jersey City BOE.

Independent candidates not affiliated with either team are Mark Rowan, Natalia Ioffe, Kimberly Goycochea and Mussab Ali.