Hannah Risheq wants to challenge hate and stereotypes in the U.S., so she decided it was time to run for political office.

As the daughter of a Palestinian Muslim immigrant and an American Jewish woman, 25-year-old Risheq is no stranger to challenging misconceptions. In the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's xenophobic rhetoric, which has raised alarm among American Muslims and Jews, Risheq knew she had to do something.

"I want to make sure that Muslims and Jews are represented at every table and that our voices and concerns are heard," Risheq told StepFeed. "I will defend American values of diversity and inclusion and do everything I can to fight back and resist Donald Trump’s bigoted agenda." 

That desire to defend led Risheq to run for election, in hopes of representing her Virginia district in the state's House of Delegates.

On being Muslim and Jewish

Risheq grew up practicing the religions of both her parents.

"Both of my parents practice their religions and we were taught both. We were taught about Christianity and other religions too but we only practiced Islam and Judaism," she said. "We would celebrate Passover with my mom and Ramadan/Eid with my dad."

As an adult, she continues to practice Islam and Judaism. Her fiance is also Jewish and she said they plan to raise their children with both religions as well.

Risheq's father left Palestine in 1967 and moved to Kuwait with his family. When it came time for university, he went to the U.S. That's when he met his future wife, Risheq's mother, after the two were setup on a blind date.

"I think that my family shows that compromise can happen and if we work together we can achieve peace," Risheq said, saying that "most people are happy and excited" when they find out about her identity.

Solidarity among American Jews and Muslims

The xenophobic rhetoric in the U.S. has drawn the country's Jews and Muslims closer together. 

Jewish groups across the country raised their voices to decry Trump's attempted ban on immigrants and refugees from several Muslim majority countries. At protests against the ban and the Trump administration, Muslim and Jewish people stood side-by-side.

"We pledge to resist in every way that we can. We’ll put our hearts, souls, and bodies on the line to stop hateful and racist attacks," Jewish Voices for Peace said earlier this year.

In November, following Trump's election, the American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America launched the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, a group of religious and business leaders from both communities who will help draft domestic policy legislation and advocate on issues of shared concern.

"Muslims and Jews are working together to combat hate," Risheq said, explaining that she is also part of a group called the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom. The organization is "a network of Muslim and Jewish women who meet and talk about ways to work towards building bridges and fighting hate, negative stereotyping and prejudice," she said.

Jews protesting against Trump's 'Muslim ban' Source: Facebook/Jewish Voice for Peace

Will Risheq win?

Running as a Democrat, Risheq announced her candidacy in March and faces two opponents before she can claim the party's nomination. The primaries will take place in mid-June.

But whether she wins or not, Risheq is determined to make an impact, taking on hatred and raising the issues important to her and her district.

"The bottom line is, hate won’t win in America," she said.

"I hope that I can show young people that we can step up and voice our concerns and I hope that my campaign encourages more young and diverse people to run for office."