Six reasons why Muslims should vote Democrat!
Abdul Malik Mujahid
A huge majority of Muslim Americans, 89%, voted for President Barack Obama, while two percent voted for John McCain. That was in 2008. Will it happen again? There is a real risk that many Muslim Americans may actually just stay home instead of voting – that is unless those who are convinced, like me, of why we need to make a major effort to get the vote out.
Muslim frustration with Obama has turned into cynicism. However it is important to note that Democrats in general have been standing up for the rights of Muslim Americans while most of the Republican Party seems to have little regard for the Muslim community.
Here are six reasons why I am campaigning for the Democrats this election.
1. Republicans have introduced 73 anti-Islam bills in 31 states and the U.S. Congress in the last two years. So far, six states have passed bills intended to interfere in your religious practice as a Muslim American.
Who opposed and voted against these bills? Democrats.
All states where these bills were passed had Republican majority.
2. Most Islamophobes are Republican: Rep Keith Ellison recently told Mother Jones that the Republican Party is "Basically a Bigoted Party." Not only are some of the Republican representatives proudly vocal about their bigoted remarks against Muslims, most of the right-wing bigots who are leading the anti-Muslim campaigns with millions of dollars are Republicans. Pamela Geller who led the campaign against New York’s Park 51 Islamic Center, erroneously dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque”, is a Republican. So is David Yerushalmi, a white supremacist leading the Republican’s anti-sharia crusade.
3. The New McCarthy Hearings by Peter King: a Republican Congressman for New York, the chair of the House Homeland Security committee started McCarthy-style Congressional hearings on American Muslims.
Which Congresspersons opposed him? Yvette Clarke, Sheila Jackson Lee, Andre Carson, Keith Ellison. What is common among them. They are all Democrats.
4. Elected Muslim Representatives: Which Party has the most elected Congresspersons who are Muslims? When Rep. Keith Ellison was first elected, the Chairman of the Democratic Party, Governor Howard Dean, invited him to the party’s headquarters and proudly introduced him to a few of us stating: “The Democratic Party has the honor of electing the first Muslim to the Congress.” Now there are two Muslim Congressmen. Republicans have yet to elect any Muslim Representatives to the Congress.
5. Anti-Immigration laws: In the last two years 164 anti-immigration laws have been passed by states. Most of these laws were presented and voted in by aggressive, right-wing Republicans. Most elected officials who opposed these laws were Democrats.
6. Democratic Party Bylaws Require Diversity: The Democratic Party’s by-laws require party delegation with minority participation, unlike the Republican Party. That is the reason the Democratic Party convention looks more like America: open and inclusive.
Voting for the Democratic Party and Obama does not mean that we accept everything is good with them.
The Democratic Party and President Obama are definitely the best choice Muslims have. They are better than Republicans for the American poor, minorities, and way smarter if you watch the convention speeches.
However, not everything is right. Inhumane drone attacks, killing civilians, and not being able to shut down Guantanamo Bay are the major issues Muslim Americans believe are hurting humanity and America.
Voting must never be meant going silent on issues one does not agree with. If anti-war Democrats and Muslims would have organized better and continued to be active with their allies against wars, against indefinite detentions, and against drone attacks, and against the violations of our constitution, President Obama would have been forced to do better.
However, a citizen’s duty must not end by voting. We must contribute our time and money to make sure that they stay on the course you like.
There are issues on which many Muslims don’t agree with any party or any candidates. However, isolation will not empower the community. Many times I find some young South Asian members of a Middle East-based, dying party, Hizbut- Tahreer, distributing flyers against voting outside a masjid. I thought of blacks and women who died to fight for their right to vote. And here are some Muslims who would like to disenfranchise Muslims based on some freak theology of isolation. I actually believe it might be sinful not to vote.
Let’s vote. Let’s participate. Lets’ continue to speak up. Participation will develop human connections, relationships for us and for our future. America needs it’s Muslims in the world where conflict is rising.
I am anti-war and proud of it. I chose Obama over Romney. I chose the Democratic Party over the Republican Party.
Please join us in our long road to the empowerment of our community.