Sunday, September 19, 2004

Voter registration activity in Muslim communities

Just wanted to share this article from the Christian Science Monitor where UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan has called the invasion of Iraq illegal - as you can imagine, the US isn't too happy!

I can safely say that 9/11 has changed the lives of American Muslims forever. Many Muslims who were not politically active before are today & plan to vote if they can. Muslim organizations, centers and mosques all over the country are pushing Muslims to vote in the November elections - it is not an easy job & kudos to all those who try! My friends & I held the first ever voter registration drive in our mosque last week. We managed to get 26 people to register, although it will be a challenge to get all of them to the polls on Nov 2! Many still feel that their vote doesn't count, or that Kerry does not offer a true alternative. It is hard to explain to them that political activism is a long-term strategy that requires patience & determination, not a mere 2-month activity. As expected, more men were willing to register than men for several reasons: some women felt they needed their husband's permission, some were not citizens, while others did not have a political conviction. One woman felt that the political candidates were equivalent to "Satan" and discouraged us from getting politically active - well, everyone to their beliefs eh?

We held another one at the Iraqi Shia mosque in the Twin Cities & it was well received - many who were interested were under 18 or not citizens yet! Here's an interesting article from Newsday about getting immigrants to the poll.

Speaking of which, a new poll shows 58 percent of Arab-Americans (not necessarily Muslim) in Michigan support Democrat John Kerry for president while 21 percent support Republican incumbent George W. Bush and 9 percent support independent Ralph Nader, the son of Lebanese immigrants. Twelve percent are undecided. Michigan houses the largest population of Arabs in the US.

For those of you who haven't heard, there was a controversy in the Florida University women's basketball team - a Muslim convert wanted to wear long pants & her headcover. Although, she was initially refused, she was later given permission & then quit due to hostility. The report made it global! For people who doubt that hate crime against Muslims is exaggerated, I would recommend you to visit the website of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) for updated news on the issue. Students, employees are constantly harassed & discriminated against, while anti-Islamic news, letters, and attacks on places of worship are widespread.