US Mosques Sign Up Voters
- U.S. Muslims bring voter registration to mosques
By Ed Stoddard
Friday, September 29, 2006
DALLAS (Reuters) - American Muslims are setting up voter registration
booths in mosques across the United States, echoing a tactic employed
by evangelical Christians to support conservative Republican
candidates. Their target: close contests where Muslim voters could
make a difference. "We have set up booths in 150 mosques across the
country in the past two weeks," said Mukit Hossain, a political
consultant to the Muslim American Society which is behind the drive.
The booths have a computer monitor with a link to a Web site
http://www.masvip.org/ to enable Muslims to register on line during
Friday prayers. Hossain said about 10,000 were estimated to have been
registered to date but he expected "tens of thousands" more to be
signed up before crucial midterm elections on November 7 that will
decide which party controls Congress during President George W. Bush's
final two years in office.
Those numbers are small compared to estimates of over 2 million
registered Muslim voters nationwide but the drive is targeting areas
where a few voters can determine the outcome -- another echo of
evangelical Christian political activism.
"We have looked and said do we have enough Muslims to impact this
race? And secondly what are the issues, how important are they for the
Muslim community and where do the candidates stand?," Hossain said.
One race he highlighted was District 8 in Arizona, where he said the
Muslim community was sizable and had concerns about the
anti-immigration tone of Republican candidate Randy Graf, who is
running to replace an outgoing moderate Republican in a closely
watched House contest.
"The Virginia Senate race is another one because you have 52,000
Muslim voters there and in a tight race they can make a difference,"
said Hossain, who is also president of the Muslim American Political
He said U.S. Muslims were concerned about Republican Sen. George
Allen's record on civil liberties. A survey of Muslim voters last year
showed the political issues that concerned them most were the
perceived erosion of civil liberties since the September 11 attacks,
the hardening of immigration laws and U.S. foreign policy in the
Middle East, Hossain said.
The next priorities on their list are more mainstream, middle-class
concerns: education and health care. Many Muslims are socially
conservative and agree with their evangelical Christian counterparts
on a range of issues such as outlawing abortion and banning same-sex
Politically motivated Christians have for the past three decades been
using the pulpit as a platform to get voters to the polls to support
Hossain said American Muslims were not simply copying this strategy
but felt compelled to take their political activism to the mosque in
the wake of Sept 11. (although the practice began before then. -WVNS)
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
To subscribe to this group, send an email to:
NEWS ARCHIVE IS OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEW