Muslims Hope To ‘Wake Up’ At The Ballot Box This Year
On a recent Saturday afternoon in an office in St. Paul, Minn., a flurry of calls went out to Native American and Latinos voters reminding them to vote Nov. 6. And there was a new group added to the list: Muslims.
Until last year, ISAIAH, a multi-racial coalition of faith communities in Minnesota, was mostly made up of churches. Now, 24 mosques have joined the voter turnout effort. The group is focused on getting communities of color to vote this year in reaction to what it describes as politics of fear and a rise of white nationalism.
With Muslims and immigrants used as boogeymen in political rhetoric, Imam Asad Zaman, executive director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, said, getting his community to the ballot box is vital. Zaman is leading the local Muslim effort to get out the vote and has been a leader on political engagement in the community for more than 15 years.
And there are more Muslims now running for office, hoping to be part of a “blue wave.” In Minnesota, nine Muslims are on the ballot for state, federal and local offices.
“Many candidates running for office are using Islamophobia as a means to get to political power. That is absolutely un-American,” Zaman said. “The community is under assault. Fortunately, most of us are beginning to wake up.”
The community is under assault. Fortunately, most of us are beginning to wake up.
(Imam Asad Zaman)
He points out that in Minnesota there are 50,000 registered Muslim voters. Though Muslims make up a small voting bloc — they’re about one percent of the nation’s population — those votes can matter in close elections. Many feel a renewed sense of urgency to choose leaders that will represent them.
About two-thirds of Muslim voters identify as Democrats according to the Pew Research Center and about 13 percent as Republican.
Muslim populations growing in key battleground states
“What’s interesting is that they are clustered in key areas including battleground states such as Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and especially in urban areas,” Alzayat says. “So, for example you have about 120,000 registered Muslim voters in the state of Michigan. You have about 120,000 registered in Florida. You have about 100,000 registered in Virginia and those numbers really matter because in close elections … just a few votes can make a difference let alone tens of thousands, if not 100,000.”
It is a long ‘glowing’ story, read more here.
I have a huge Minnesota archive, go here if you have some time to read!