First Muslim elected to Manitoba Legislature

First Muslim elected to Manitoba Legislature

Ibrahim (Obby) Khan became the first Muslim elected to the Manitoba Legislature after winning a byelection on Tuesday.

"Yeah, that's a huge honour and a badge for me. I was one of the first East Indians to play in the CFL, now the first Canadian Muslim to be elected in [the Manitoba Legislative Assembly]. It's just — it's amazing," he told CBC News.

Khan narrowly won the byelection for the Progressive Conservatives over Liberal Willard Reaves by 197 votes. His opponent is also a former player for the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Ibrahim "Obby" Khan is a Pakistani-Canadian entrepreneur and former professional Canadian football center who played for nine seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Ottawa Renegades, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and Calgary Stampeders.

"My son can grow up, looking at, hey, there's a Muslim in the leg., there's representation there," Khan said.

"Oh, you know," he added, pausing, "you almost got me to cry there."

Idris Elbakri, a director with the Manitoba Islamic Association, said there have been Muslim school trustees in Manitoba in the past, and a Muslim mayor, but Khan's victory is a major milestone.

"This is the political body that governs our province. We've had several Muslim candidates in past years attempt to make it to the legislature, [but] to actually have Obby win is significant," Elbakri said.

"Increasingly, our political system is reflecting the diversity of our community. I think that's a wonderful thing."