Role of US Muslims in Mid-Term elections

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Elections Views: 3702
3702

Muslim citizens of America have as much freedom to express their opinions as any other American. The question is how do we exercise that right. We can argue that the institutions meant to give us the opportunities to express our views are a facade as they don't really serve people or we can use these institutions to express our opinions, no matter how feeble they may be.

The forthcoming November 7 elections offer one more opportunity to Muslim Americans to make their voices heard quietly. The fate of thousands of aspirants for public offices is at the mercy of American voters and as conscious citizens Muslims can play an active role in determining the destiny of such people. 

Ideally, we would have liked to develop a better understanding of candidates, issues, propositions and other election related matters. However, we lack an effective institution that may provide us fair and balanced information about election issues. Muslim media in the USA is still in its infancy and it lack resources to study, analyze issues and inform its readers of the alternative choices. Our organizations are still in their adolescence as they are unable to effectively educate their constituents on the real dynamics of democracy. 

Certainly, at some point in our efforts to make our voices heard, we have to devote part of our resources and energy in strengthening our media and creating institutions that would be relevant to our needs, but for the time being we have to rely on what we have and what we can do.

In the forthcoming coming elections, from a Muslim American perspective, four issues are of great importance.

1. The number one issue that is least talked by any candidates and political parties is civil rights. Recent legislations have virtually ended the privacy of individuals and made a huge dent on the process of safeguarding freedoms. We had long cherished the idea that people are innocent until proven guilty. Under the new laws, people or some people are assumed to be guilty until proven innocent. Thus, when we make our choices on November 7, we must ensure that the candidates we are voting for stand for those freedoms that have been taken away from us.

2. The second issue is economy. Despite the fact that the stock market is rising and more jobs have been created, we are a nation living in trillion of dollars debts. The deficit size has tripled over the last six years. Most jobs that are created during the last six years are in the defense industry. In order for these jobs to sustain, we as a nation have to be constantly in a state of war. Thus we must ascertain that those who represent us have an understanding of economic issues we face.

3. The Iraq war is the third issue. The war has caused us severe financial burden. It has resulted in the loss of almost 650,000 Iraqi civilians and over 2,700 US soldiers. Despite three yeas of US presence, the violence has not subsided. It is on the rise. Stability is no where in site and political chaos is prevalent. 

Thus on November 7, we must ascertain that the people we are supporting have an understanding of the ground realities in Iraq and they are willing to take bold steps to help us out of the situation.

4. The fourth issue is corruption in our houses of legislation. It is no longer a secret that our representatives traded off their political opinions for favors in cash and kind. What we know is only the surface. There are more than 30,000 lobbying groups working in Washington DC. There are approximately 66 lobbyists for every congress representative. This is frustrating as this defeats the very purpose of democracy. In the early stages of democracy the average size of a congressional district was no more than 20,000 people. Now a congressional district is as large as 6 million people. Our representatives have lost touch with their constituents and lobbies have taken over. Thus on November 7, we must ensure that the candidate we are choosing reflect the options of voters rather than lobbyists.

5. Illegal immigration is the fifth issue. We are a nation of immigrants. We must devise a policy that is fair to new immigrants and that provides people wishing to settle in America fair choices through legal means. Those who have illegally entered the country must not be denied their basic human rights regardless of the method they chose to enter the country. Thus on November 7, we must elect those who view immigrants not as aliens but as human beings deserving a humane status regardless of their legal status.

Additionally, we must also be watchful of those candidates who have spread anti-Islamic sentiments during their previous tenure in office. There are many congressmen who have openly shown hostility towards Muslims. Regardless of their party affiliations they must be given a clear message that Muslim electorates of America will not tolerate racists and bigots in their houses of legislation.

Election is as much about one's conscious as it is about political empowerment. We must be willing to listen to our conscious more than the demand of political expediency. After all, when we exercise our freedom, we have to be mindful of something else, i.e., The Highest authority to whom we all are accountable for every choice that we make in every aspect of our life.

Dr. Aslam Abdullah is Editor-in-Chief of the Muslim Observer, director of the Islamic society of Nevada, Las Vegas and acting president of the Muslim Council of America, a Washington-based newly formed groups of Muslim activists.


  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Elections
Views: 3702

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Older Comments:
SYLVIA HORTON FROM CANADA said:
Good articles concerning the issues of the American people. As an American muslim living in Canada, I do not see either democrats or republicians doing anything to help the condition of the Muslims. As brother Khan stated so well, America still needs money to run the country. They will get it one way or the other.
I personally do not see the point in Muslims voting in these elections.

Salam Alaikum,
Sister Fatimah
2006-11-07

ANDY NUNEZ FROM UNITED STATES said:
I'm glad to see another muslim shares similar opinions. If muslims are opposed to voting, then we are ignoring the strongest power granted to very citizen of their country.

The best way to show a policitian and shape politics/legislation is to express our view point thru voting. If law makers see that we care enough about our concerns to vote, then they will naturally cater to them. If they do not, then those who do listen to our concerns will eventually replace them.

That's pretty much how voting works and there's alot of muslims in this country.
2006-11-07

TASNEEM ALI FROM USA said:
LOved your article...You must make a point of studying each candidate that is elected and tell us what they stand for,,You have definately educated me and though I dont know any of the candidate what they stand for so I will vote what I know but next time you have to educate far more in advance and have a web site so we can study and when the time comes, I will vote only for only those candidtate that you have mentioned in yr article that makes perfect sense...I am glad that we have started the process and how about emphasising on our leaders of our country and people living in foreign to contribute towards education etc. We have to educate our muslims brothers and sisters so we have true democracy.
2006-11-05

KHAN FROM US said:
What elections ? They have only two parties Rep/Dem. No other choice.

Whether it is a D or R party ,I dont think it matters. They need muslim resources(oil,money etc) to run western economy.They need jobs, companies and businesses in muslim countries either by destroying or rebuilding-both ways they make money.

The fundamental principles of the US Department(?)that only few VIPs(?) know will stay same. They will be implemented with some modifications. President and its Cabinet, congresspersons or senators are the employees of that system .It is like a James Bond movie/ a suspense movie in which we do not know who is the real villain till the end?

A President or a politician must have 70% of votes to be elected. It does not make sense to win by 2-4% especially a President. I do not get that a person can be President of such great country with slightly over 50%votes(when close to 50% do not lik him and did vote against him) STRANGE

2006-11-05

MARYAH FROM USA, MEXICO said:
Asslaamu alaikum:
Yes, Muslims that are eligible to vote should do so after studying the issues. There is one senator whose last name begins with a K and he is up for re-election this year. he is the senator from AZ who shares the spotlight with the Bush and shares his philosophy: He is also the one who attempted to sneak and push legislation through the house to furthur decrease the rights of the prisoners being held illegally at Gitmo. I encourage all Arizona Muslims of good conscience to reconsider the works of this man when voting and keep in mind he is even sneakier than his fellow senator from AZ, John McCain. they both kiss the feet of the Bush!
Good article and very timely
2006-11-04

JAN FROM USA said:
Americans are disgusted coming to grips with the reality that the Election are becoming a choice between the lesser of the two evils: throwing the rascals out only mean bringing more rascals in.

The politicians may have the Halloween trick up their sleeves - but given the mess they have created - it won't be a treat, unless, of course, most American are spaced out! Who can forget the debacle and process flaws of the recent elections! The fears it might repeat maybe haunting many electorates - specially, so soon after Halloween!

Beside, those that have the resources manipulate these dramas called "Election" - and they run the show. No wonder, the percentage of non-voters has been climbing to over 65%.

Muslim-Americans may want to take the opportunity by voting in a candidate that does not have Islamophobia. Other than that, there may not be much difference between the candidates as far as Middle East foreign policy and many other issues are concerned. But anything is better than Bushness as usual!


2006-11-04

ABID FROM UNITED STATES said:
655,000 Iraqis have indeed been killed in Iraq because of the US intervention. Please see http://www.epic-usa.org/Default.aspx?tabid=2272 A little over 600,000 have been killed due to violence with about 200,000 of those killed directly from coalition (almost totally American) firepower. Please take out the little effort and vote! and vote Democratic so they can take away control of the House and Senate away from the Neocons! and let us pray to Allah subhana wa ta ala that the new congresspersons develop new policies on Iraq that help the Iraqis rather than killing them and policies which do not continue to help the US multinational corporations like oil corporations, Halliburton, and the Arms and weapons industry. We pray to Allah to spread peace and justice everywhere.
2006-11-03

JOHN FROM SINGAPORE said:
Both Republicans and Democrats are controlled by the Zionist Regime . So what role have the US Muslims got to play ? Basically nothing.
Only when the Americans formed a new political party that serve the Americans first then only the US Muslims have a role.
2006-11-03