Visionary Muslim Masses Vs. Indecisive Muslim Leaders

Muslim voters seem to be more prudent than those who claim to be their leaders. In response to a question asked by an Associated Press (AP) reporter, the head of the Muslim Public Affairs Council said that we are still debating the issue of endorsing a presidential candidate. This, however, is not the case with Muslim American voters. When asked to state his choice, Captain Shehzad Wahid of California said emphatically, "Kerry is better than Bush. I will vote for him." Similar sentiments were expressed by Muslims all over the country. Why is it that those who claim to lead Muslims are indecisive on this issue? What are they waiting for? The Muslim political scene is divided into factions. The American Task Force that claims to represent more than a dozen Muslim groups is on the side of indecisive Muslims, while, the Muslim Electorates' Council of America and the National Steering Committee for Kerry are on the side of Kerry. is an obvious backer of Bush.

The indecisive Muslims argue that the Muslim vote is not cheap and Kerry should not take Muslim votes for granted. Those who speak on behalf of the so-called Muslim votes, however, are unable to explain where that Muslim vote is and what they have done to mobilize that Muslim vote. They argue that presidential candidates should meet them (the so-called leaders) and discuss Muslim issues. If they are satisfied with the response of the candidate, they will endorse him, otherwise, they will look for the next bidder.

This is a faulty logic and dangerous for Muslims. The indecisive groups believe that we are in a market where the highest bidder takes all. A vote is an expression of one's individual conscience. It is not a commodity to be bought and sold at the will and whim of those who claim to speak on behalf of Muslim voters. Every individual is entitled to have his decision based on his personal beliefs. People cannot be emotionally coerced to vote for a particular person because someone took a decision on their behalf. This is what happened in 2000, when the mainly immigrant Muslim leaders endorsed George Bush without any consideration to the opinion of the majority of Muslims.

The above logic of selling Muslim votes is also faulty because an election is not a mandate on Muslim issues; rather it is a process to elect those who can best serve the country. Ideally, Muslim interests should not be different from the interests of the country. But most of the Muslims who are in the position of leadership have remained isolated from national interests. These Muslim leaders are more concerned with shaking hands and taking pictures with the candidates then evaluating the candidates based on national issues and matters concerning Muslims.

In their zeal to sell Muslim votes, they ignored three important issues in the last election. Under George Bush, some 5 million more Americans were added to the list of uninsured people and some 4 million Americans were added to the list of people living below the poverty line. America has more than 45 million uninsured citizens and 44 million people living below the poverty line. A cursory look at the Republican agenda suggests that this number may increase by 13 percent by the year 2008.

The second important factor that is missed by the Muslim leadership is the appointment of Seventh and Ninth Circuit Court judges. A few Supreme Court judges are ending their terms and new appointments would be made. With an overwhelming majority of judges representing new-cons and Christian right, one can imagine the shape of things to come under George Bush second term.

The third important factor that the leadership ignored is gun violence that causes death to some 500 Americans every week. With George Bush in power for a second term, the gun lobby would become even stronger.

Instead they focused primarily on civil rights issues that are not specifically Muslim issues but are over-all national issues. The majority of this country will not surrender its civil rights. The Democrats have assured the country that they will let several provisions of the Patriot Act sunset. They did not make this assurance in a closed door meeting with the so-called Muslim leaders. They did it in public. At the MPAC convention last year, John Kerry spoke strongly in favor of Muslim civil rights. He could have further elaborated his points, but he was cut off at the podium for lack of time.

At the Democratic convention, he and many others spoke clearly on civil rights issues for everyone - including Muslims. The Republican leadership remained silent on that issue at its convention. 

Those who have endorsed John Kerry have at least identified with the sentiments of Muslim masses and the national interests. Among them are young generation Muslim Americans, African Americans and average Muslims representing various ethnic groups and regions. Their logic is simple and yet profound. Kerry is the candidate who appears to be clear on domestic and foreign issues. He is concerned about health insurance, poverty and court appointments. He is also concerned about the fading image of America at the international level. 

Regardless of the indecisiveness of our so-called Muslim leaders, the Muslim masses have already made a choice in the best interests of the country. This choice is John Kerry. Some 87 percent of Muslims will vote for John Kerry in the upcoming election, as is evident in a poll of 700 people taken by the Muslim Electorates Council of America immediately after the Republican convention. The poll also found that Muslim voters blame Muslim leaders for the weak state of their political empowerment.

Dr. Aslam Abdullah is Director of the Muslim Electorates' Council of America. He is also the director of the Islamic Society of Nevada.

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Older Comments:
AHMED ASGHER FROM BAHRAIN said: - now i've heard it all. Do these guys face The Whitehouse when praying? May be they also have a strong bond with AIPAC and ADL? i wonder what do they think about Bush's plan to bomb at least half a dozen Muslim countries into submission and his approval of 20,000 Christian zealots sent to iraq to convert us to his cult of Christianity thro the burrel of a gun?

No thanks. I never thought Muslims would decend so low - but hey this is America, the land of the free - and don't forget Muslim in Islamic countries hate your freedom. You can swallow that line, hook and sinker.

Read this from a world's no. 1 democracy.

I don't live in the US - thank God, but if I did, I would vote Nader since both Bush and Kerry belng to the same club - Skull and Bones and they both are fighting as to who loves Israel most. Ok may be Kerry is not a Judo-Christian zealot and that remains to be seen. Voting for Kerry is really voting Bush out. Is there a wisdom in that? May be? Good luck.

i think Iraqis, Afghanis, Syrians, Palestinians and soon Iranians should all have a voting right for US Presidency. Why? because they are the ones who are most affected by it. Your choice might affect your pocket but ours is life or death. Either that or get your toops out of our countries.

In the name of Allah.
Brother Ken Hadari touched on a very good point. Muslims should follow his advise and I would like to add that in Kerry's advertisements he is accusing Bush of being too close to the Saudies and Iran is the real enemy. Guess what. Vote for Kerry and you are giving him a free ticket to go to war with these countries, and he will. We can kill two birds with one stone here. I know you are hurt and want bush out of office, but brothers and sisters be "patient". Vote for bush, and the American people will wake up in two years and also Allah willing two other countries will be left alone.

I agree with commenter Ahmed that
Kerry > Bush != good for World.
And I also agree with Ken hadari and others
that Kerry is the other face of same coin.

In the sprit of decisiveness I must agree with this article.

Does words like paradox, ambiguity, and contradiction fix perfectly within the social interaction of humans. I think so.

And voting stands center stage- the hallmark of a civil democratic society.

But here we are talking about a world void of Allah "God", totally secular, aimlessly beating a path to a destination without the guidance of Allah. So all actions produce seemingly ambiguous, incompatible reactions. So we vote- which is good. But without an understanding of what is best for all concerned, the outcome of our vote could be very bad. Case in point: bush was "voted" into office.

Now I totally reject the concept of a "Muslim voter". There is no so-called Christian voter. 99% of Americans are Christians; and most have no real connection to the book in which they are to live by. America is more secular than Christian. Anyway, the co-called "Muslim voter" should vote his or her own way based upon what would be the best course of action for all citizens as a whole- and of course this vote should be made by an informed "voter". In the case of the " Muslim voter" this should reflect Islamic values.

We Muslims in America are in a prime position to show that voting is a good thing and we don't need a hand-picked-American-accepted "Muslim leader" to tell us how we should vote.

Kerry > Bush != good for Muslims

Kerry is better than Bush does not equal good for Muslims, necessarily

Do you have a clear choice? You will loose no matter whom you choose. Candidates are scared to ask for your votes with the fear that they will loose money and votes from their favorite constituents. Right now time is not on your side. Leave Muslim leaders alone. They have their own agenda.

Muslims, individually and collectively have to be intelligent people. They must know what is best for the nation and for them. Collectively they will have impact. Then Muslim vote will count, with or without their leaders.

The Muslims made mistake in 2000 by voting for the wrong candidate, and they will do the same mistake this year and will vote for Kerry. It is not how or what the leaders think or decide, it is the whole nation who is undecisive due to the lack of differance between the two.

Both candidates are fore Israel,no matter what. All the other reasons Dr. Abdulla prefers Kerry fore are trends no presidant can change.

The Americans are impatient and short sighted, they have not seen the disastrous result of Bush foreign policies yet, and I believe in the first two years of a secod term for Bush, the Americans will realize how wrong they were six year ago. Then and only then he will be impeached, and America will come back to the human race. On the other hand, if Kerry wins the neocons will force him into thier long programmed design for world dominace and viva Israel.

The valid opinion offered by the writer can be objectively precipitated thus: Muslim groups should quickly endorse Kerry and not wait any further. To convey an objective message, the writer unfortunately chose a bitter encapsulation.

As a reader, it is impossible to escape the impression that the piece departs from clear objectivity in the mannet it levels charges against whoever the writer alludes to as the Muslim leadership. Words like "in their zeal to sell the Muslim votes..." are seriously presumptuous. The writer also fails to see that there can be valid - even good - reasons for delayed endorsement. He left no room whatsoever for that possibility.

To attribute emerging Muslim support for Kerry to 'visionary' masses, is absurd analysis. Given the Bush performance, Muslim masses will prefer a lamp post over Bush. On a philosophical level, the term "visionary masses" is an oxymoron.

The article seriously lacks depth.


Perhaps Muslim Americans expressing their intention to vote for a candidate might have less effect on the candidate's decisions, should Allah will that they attain public office, than Allah willing that a few Muslim Americans strive in supporting a candidate before that candidate wins the election. An example of such support would be articles such as this one. If vocal Muslim Americans don't happen to support the same candidate then - well, of course - Allah knows best.

By time, mankind is at loss - except for those who believe and do good and advise each other to truth and advise each other to patience (Surah 103).

What a choice in US!! Vote for TWEEDLEDUM or TWEEDBLEDEE; or should I say TWEEDLEPHONEY.

Don't worry. For muslims, Kerry will not be any better (if not worse) than GWBush.