Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Democratic Candidate for Governor Abdul El-Sayed on Religion and Politics

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Image credit: Laura Weber Davis/WDET

A lot has been made about whether or not Michigan can vote for a guy named Abdul.”

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Abdul El-SayedLaura Weber Davis/WDET
Laura Weber Davis/WDET

Abdul El-Sayed

Right now, there are two official candidates for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018. One, former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, is a name that’s well-known in Michigan politics and has been in the mix for some time. The other is a relative newcomer to politics, and a name few Michiganders probably recognize. Former Detroit Health Department Director Abdul El-Sayed admits his is also a name that conjures many emotions and stereotypes for some voters.

My name’s Abdul,” El-Sayed tells Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson. “A lot has been made about whether or not Michigan can vote for a guy named Abdul. But, hey, they’ve danced to Paula Abdul and they’ve watched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar play basketball.” 

I’m 32, I’m brown, and I’m Muslim,” he says. “I’m never going to escape those facts, because they’re who I am, and I wouldn’t want to.”

Abdul says he’s not afraid to talk about his faith and how it influences his interest in politics.

I am somebody who believes in faith. And I believe in one God. And I believe that that God commands me to create a more just, more equitable world. And that’s about serving everybody.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


 2018 Elections in Michigan

This post is a part of 2018 Elections in Michigan.

On November 6, Michigan voters will decide who will be the state's new governor, attorney general and secretary of state. Some state House and Senate seats are up for grabs, and numerous initiatives are expected on ballots.

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