Thursday, June 30, 2016

Here's what happens when you kick people who could vote ...

They learn to vote. TPM reports:

“The beauty of this country is that we have a voice,” Ehsan Islam began as he looked out onto a room so crowded for Jummah [Friday prayer] that some of the men were on a tarp outside. “We live in a state that is a swing state, that is a very important state, and all the candidates are going to be fighting over this.”

“We can decide the outcome,” he told congregants at the Dar Alnoor Islamic Community Center in suburban Washington, D.C.

There in Virginia, if not across most of the country, he might have a case.

US Muslims are responding to the fear and hatred stirred up against them by the Donald and an industry of Islamophobes just as so many communities have before them: they are organizing themselves to register, to vote, and working to make politicians aware they need to listen up.

According to a New York Times report,

Muslims make up about 1 percent of the United States population. A study conducted by the Institute for Social and Policy Understanding, a nonpartisan think tank, found that only 60 percent of citizens who are Muslim were registered voters, compared with at least 86 percent of Jews, Protestants and Roman Catholics.

“A lot of Muslims didn’t participate in elections because they didn’t see a lot of difference between the parties,” said Emir Sundiata Alrashid of the Lighthouse Mosque in Oakland, where a voter-registration drive was held last month.

The Donald is changing that, big time. And while not amounting to hu-u-ge numbers in most locales, potential Muslim voters are mobilizing.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) offers a toolkit which includes sample questionnaires tailored for local and federal candidates to probe their views on such matters as religious freedom and immigration. The toolkit also includes a "religious pluralism pledge" affirming free exercise of religion which candidates can be asked to sign.

Such tools are the nuts and bolts for getting into the US election game, a game that any community under siege needs as one of many defensive fronts.

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