A Muslim activist who wants to defund the police and has accused the NYPD of “state-sanctioned violence” is seeking to unseat veteran Democratic US Rep. Carolyn Maloney — by following the same playbook that propelled Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez into Congress.
Rana Abdelhamid, 27, of Queens — a member of the AOC-backing Democratic Socialists of America — announced her campaign Tuesday with the backing of the influential “Justice Democrats” group, which now has a click-through fundraising message for her at the top of its website.
In 2018, the left-wing organization helped turn Ocasio-Cortez, now better known simply by her initials AOC, from a virtual unknown community organizer from The Bronx into the progressive darling who scored a stunning, upset victory over longtime Rep. Joe Crowley of Queens, then the fourth most powerful Democrat in the House, who had been in office since 1998.
It was also instrumental in Jamaal Bowman’s victory last year over 16-term US Rep. Eliot Engel (D-The Bronx).
Abdelhamid, who works for Google as a “global marketing and partnerships lead,” is best known as an outspoken advocate of Muslim women’s rights, which she’s tied to an incident in which a man tried to pull a religious head covering, known as a hijab, off her head when she was 15.
But Abdelhamid never reported the alleged hate crime to the NYPD, which she’s repeatedly attacked for its crime-fighting and anti-terror efforts.
“It was the surveillance and the stop-and-frisk policies of the NYPD after 9/11 that pushed me to organize,” she said during a speech in September.
Abdelhamid made even more inflammatory comments during an interview posted on YouTube in March 2020 by the United Nations Association of the USA.
“The Muslim community post-9/11 in New York — my neighborhood, my street –experienced a lot of NYPD surveillance, a lot of state-sanctioned violence,” she said.
And following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, Abdelhamid co-authored an essay on the website of the Muslim Grassroots Movement that’s titled, “Dear Non-Black Muslims: To Be Anti-Racist Is To Help Defund The Police.”
Among other things, it claims that “we don’t actually need policing.”
“Many of you might argue that police are important to maintain civility and keep us safe,” she and co-author Haleema Bharoocha wrote.
“We must ask the question ‘to keep who safe, from what exactly?’ Islam has a built in model for community care…that we can build in our own communities in practicing the sunnah [customs] and teachings of Islam.”
Abdelhamid has a Twitter account with nearly 1,500 posts — but keeps it locked from public view.
She’s also the founder and CEO of a nonprofit organization, the International Muslim Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment, which runs the “Malikah” website.
The IRS granted it tax-exempt status as a public charity in 2017, retroactive to June 2014, records show.
The group filed postcards reporting that it took in less than $50,000 in gross receipts annually during 2016 and 2017, according to the IRS website, which doesn’t show any other filings.
A spokeswoman for Abdelhamid’s campaign claimed the group also filed short-form, tax-exempt returns — which are required for nonprofits with $200,000 or more in annual receipts — for 2018 and 2019.
Spokeswoman Sarafina Chitika provided images of only the first page of each four-page IRS Form 990-EZ.
But even though the forms clearly state “Open to Public Inspection” — and the IRS says charities “must make available” their returns upon request — any and all dollar figures were completely blacked out.
Chitika didn’t respond when asked why that information was withheld, or why she didn’t provide the complete documents.
Maloney, 75, has served in Congress since 1993 — before Abdelhamid was born — and chairs the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
Unlike Crowley, who didn’t distinguish himself through legislative achievements, Maloney was a vocal co-sponsor of the bill to permanently extend benefits to people sickened by the Sept. 11 terror attacks, which was signed into law by then-President Donald Trump in 2019.
Maloney, a strong supporter of women’s rights, also won her seat in Congress by narrowly beating incumbent Republican Rep. Bill Green, while Crowley was the hand-picked successor of the late Rep. Thomas Manton, the Queens Democratic Party boss who dropped a 1998 reelection bid at the 11th hour to engineer Crowley’s victory.
Maloney enjoys broad support in the part of her district that covers most of Manhattan’s East Side, which in 2020 and 2018 helped her withstand primary challenges by Suraj Patel, who outpolled her in district’s sections of Brooklyn and Queens.
Maloney’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.