Fifty mosques and Islamic organizations across America will have khateebs deliver Friday sermons today (Oct 7) urging American Muslims to register and vote in the coming U.S. Presidential Elections.
National #MyMuslimVote Khutba Day is run by digital grassroot organizer MPower Change and Muslim Students Association (MSA) National, which are hoping to reach up to 100,000 Muslims to get out and vote.
New York-based campaign manager Mohammad Khan told Salaam Gateway this particular U.S. Presidential Election is significant.
“The #MyMuslimVote campaign is an effort focused on uplifting the voices of Muslim voters in the 2016 Elections. There has been a lot of attention focused on Muslims, Islam and Muslim communities on both sides, to the point where it almost seems like we're being used as a political football,” he said.
The organizers provided talking points on their website for khateebs to develop their khutbah content. It also posted a sample khutbah written by Munes Tomeh (pdf), who is Professor of Islamic Law at Zaytuna College, a Muslim liberal arts college in Berkeley, California.
Word about National #MyMuslimVote Khutba Day spread on the web since its launch last month.
“We tend to reach more millennial Muslim voters, because our outreach is most visible on social media and the Internet. That's one of the reasons why we decided to partner with MSA National, because they work with students on campuses across the country.”
Many mosques and Islamic organizations, including those in swing states like Florida and Ohio have signed up to take part. The Islamic Centre of New York University (ICNYU) will also be streaming its khutbah live via the MPower Change website on that day.
ISLAMOPHOBIA COULD IMPACT TOURISM
This year’s U.S. Presidential Election is a tight race between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and her opponent, Republican candidate Donald Trump. Much of the media attention has been placed on Trump’s call to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. as well as to ban Muslims from entering the country.
Earlier this year, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Muslim advocacy group released a finding where Muslim voters lists Islamophobia and the economy as top concerns.
For business operators like Fahima Khalaf who runs two retail shops in Las Vegas, this year’s Presidential Election raises some concerns.
“The only thing I worry about is if the Republican candidate is elected, it might have an impact on tourism because we are in a tourist location,” said Khalaf.
“He has alienated a lot of people around the world and I don’t know if that might make people not want to travel to the U.S. or fear travelling to the U.S. and they would rather travel to Europe. For us, tourists are critical,” she added.
The Khalaf family owns Kalifano, an importer of crystals, gemstones, fossils and exotic belts. They are third generation business owners in the U.S. and tourists make up 80 percent of their business.
Khalaf revealed that their international associates have also raised their concerns about the impact that the election results may have.
“We assure them that we are not going to change. We assure them that when they come to our retail shop we will be the same. We will welcome everyone with open arms,” Khalaf said.
Equally important to her is to help galvanize her local Muslim community in Las Vegas to register and vote via local drives at mosques.
“You might not agree 100 percent of what the candidates stand for, but you have to look at the long term. You are not going to have someone whom you love 100 percent on any issue but you have to vote.”
According to Pew Research Center, there were 3.3 million Muslims in the U.S. in 2015, accounting for 1 percent of the country’s population. In 2011, there were 1.8 million adult Muslims, according to a survey conducted by the Center.
Deadlines for voter registration vary for each of the 50 states except for North Dakota, which does not have voter registration.
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