Get Out and Vote!

Get Out and Vote!! PGCMC’s Ramadan and Beyond Call to Civic Duty

Written by Jamil White, Muslim Link Contributing Writer

The Prince George's County Muslim Council (PGCMC) is a local non-profit grass roots organization whose mission is to promote the involvement of Muslim residents in the civic and political affairs of the County.  There is no greater civic duty than participating in the election process, and the only way to participate in the election process is to make your voice heard through the act of voting.

Many Muslims are apprehensive about voting, and often have concerns that government officials may not always have the best interest of the Muslims at heart. These concerns are real, but are not unique to Muslims, rather these are concerns felt by most ethnic and religious minority groups here in the United States. However, in a democratic country such as the United States, we can turn the tide and bring attention to the social and political issues that matter to us by electing officials that will sponsor and support legislation that supports our way of life. Muslims have several issues of concern for which they must have a voice if they expect elected officials to be responsive. Issues include but are not limited to: closing of the public schools on Eid holidays, the rights of Muslim students to practice their faith in the public schools, the opportunity for Muslim government workers to invest their retirement funds in halal instruments, local ordinances that affect our religious institutions, police/community relations, immigration policy, and civil rights policies among other issues.

Please remember every vote counts. In 2014 primary voting, current District 2 County Councilman, Deni Taveras, defeated Doyle Niemann by a mere six (6) votes out of 4,840 votes cast. New State Delegate Erek Barron who was supported by the Muslim community won his seat over the next closest competitor by 221 votes out of nearly 36,000 votes cast. The first Muslim elected to a city council in Prince George's County was Brother Fazlul Kabir of College Park, MD. He won his first election by TWO votes.

Knowing how close elections can be we should aim as a community to establish a voting bloc, which will make candidates and elected officials more responsive to our concerns. We do not have to wait very long to make an impact! Major November elections for 2016 in the State of Maryland include the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Barbara Mikulski, the 4th Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Donna Edwards who is running for U.S. Senate and from a national perspective of course the office of the President of the United States. 2018 will be even more significant locally as the Offices of the Governor, State legislature, County Executive, County Council and the School Board.

PGCMC would like to take the lead in registering Prince George's County Muslims. During Ramadan and the Third Annual Cookout we will be pushing for new voter registrations and information from existing voters. PGCMC will be posting fliers and providing information on voting in various Prince George's County masjids. For those interested in registering to vote at PGCMC's Third Annual Cookout, it will be held at Watkins Park (301 Watkins Park Drive Upper Marlboro, MD 20774) on August 9, 2015 at noon.

 For more information visit our website at www.pgcmc.org or send an email to info@pgcmc.org.

The writer is the treasurer of the Prince George's County Muslim Council (PGCMC)

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