Muslims in India don’t vote effectively, so are the Muslims in United States: One of the many reasons behind the sufferings ..... Read Full
Govt. soft in dealing with Hindutva extremists: CPM: The CPI(M) today castigated the central .... Read Full
No 'fatwa' against working women, says Deoband: Darul Uloom Deoband, India's foremost Islamic seminary, Wednesday denied asking Muslim women not to work .... Read Full
Muslim leaders warn against Jerusalem settlements: Muslim leaders warned on Monday the establishment of new Israeli settlements in Jerusalem would push the region to "the brink of an ..... Read Full
Plea for probe in Karkare killing rejected by Supreme Court: The Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed a petition for a probe into the killing of .... Read Full
Muslim representation in Civil Services – An Analysis: Among 875 selected candidates, this year, 21 are Muslims. Last year, out of 791 selected .... Read Full
More on United States
Full text: Obama's address to the Muslim World: I am honoured to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over 1,000 years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a .... Read Full
Muslim woman’s appointment as Obama advisor draws cautious optimism: Egyptians are cautiously rejoicing over the recent appointment of a veiled Egyptian American Muslim woman as .... Read Full
Lady of Indian Origin as US Representative to Muslims: A woman of Indian descent, Farah Pandith has been made special representative of the United States to the Muslim world, said the US State Department. According ... Read Full
'Indian Americans catching up in US politics too’: Recipient of this year’s prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honour, Indian American business leader Rao S. Anumolu believes the Indian community, doing an “A+ job” ..... Read Full
French Dictate on Hijab: A case for Obama to prove his detractors wrong: French President Nicolas Sarkozy is in the media for his misadventures yet again. After creating controversies and receiving ... Read Full
Muslims want tangible change on Mideast from Obama: Respect for Islam, a prescription for Palestinian statehood and assurances of a speedy U.S. pullout from Iraq — that's what Muslims from Morocco .... Read Full
Togadia on SIT probe: It’s victimization for his Hindu identity: Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia on Monday alleged that he was being victimized for belonging to the Hindu .... Read Full
Sons of Babur - A Play in Search of India: ‘Sons of Babur have only two places: the graveyard or Pakistan!’ went the bloodcurdling .... Read Full
Principal to face court case over headscarf row: The father of the girl who was ousted from school for wearing the head-scarf will file a case ..... Read Full
British parliament to have three Muslim women MPs: Two Pakistani-British women were among three women who became the first Muslim females to be elected .... Read Full
A street vendor turned entrepreneur who shared high table with Obama: From a street vendor kid to sharing the high table at a presidential .... Read Full
Gujarat Riots: Togadia appears before SIT: Firebrand VHP General Secretary Praveen Togadia on Monday appeared for questioning before the Special Investigation .... Read Full
SC notices on Ayodhya: Mahants upbeat, BMAC unfazed: Ayodhya saints today welcomed the Supreme Court's decision to issue notices to the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh ..... Read Full
Madhya Pradesh concealing facts, say Bhopal gas victims: Bhopal gas tragedy victims Thursday accused the Madhya Pradesh government of concealing facts, and said it continued .... Read Full
Cabinet approves 1000 model schools in educationally backward blocks: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Friday approved the setting up of 1000.... Read Full
Bombay or Mumbai, it’s the same, says Nandita: “What difference does it make whether you call it Bombay or Mumbai?” asks actress-filmmaker Nandita Das, who has moved to Mumbai after .... Read Full
PM pitches for urgent action to root out Naxalism: Against the backdrop of a string of Maoist attacks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday pitched .... Read Full
Apex court gets it right in fourth attempt: Conceding it erred, the Supreme Court has released four Madhya Pradesh natives who were sent to jail by it in November 2008, in a 1991 murder-cum .... Read Full
Muslims in India don’t vote effectively, so are the Muslims in United States
Thursday May 13, 2010 08:33:59 PM, Aleem Faizee, ummid.com
Muslim staffers at Capitol Hill offering Friday prayers at the prayer hall inside the Capitol Building
United States as I see ...
World not a paradise like Washington: Courtesy, US Foreign Policy: I was the last minute inclusion in the 3-member team that was visiting United States as part of the International Visitor .... Read Full
Country of Immigrants, United States is a WORLD in itself: History has it that Christopher Columbus was navigating to India when he accidentally discovered America ..... Read Full
One of the many reasons behind the sufferings of the Muslims in India is cited as their lack of interest in the electioneering process. Elections after elections it is witnessed that the Muslims in India – barring on few occasions - either don’t come out of their homes to cast their votes as they are supposed to or even when they do, they do it in such a fragmented way that their otherwise very effective vote becomes ineffective. The Kingmakers – as the Indian Muslims proudly claim to be – in the eyes of politicians are no more than tissue papers - use as and when require and then throw in the dustbin. This is something so common in India that nothing more is required for justification. However, it was surprising for us when during our stay in the United States we found that the Muslims in supposedly the most advanced and developed country in the world are no more different than their Indian counterparts as far as exercising the right to vote is concerned.
Surprising because, the American Muslims are not only well-educated but judging them on the basis of the earnings are richer than an average American. And in India, whenever it is debated why the Muslims despite having such a decisive number on their sides don’t effectively use it, it is said, due to the rampant illiteracy and poverty they become vulnerable to the tactics deliberately designed to nullify their strength. This of course is not the case with the American Muslims. Yet they fail to realise the importance of their votes. The reasons that were revealed to us were ridiculous.
Assad R. Akhter – the young and dynamic Legislative Director to Bill Pascrell Jr., Member of Congress from New Jersey and the Founder-President of Congressional Muslim Staffers Association (CMSA)
“Most of the American Muslims are doctors, lawyers or engineers working with one or the other organisation. They are of the view that siding with a political group may harm their chances in their respective professions”, said a Muslim counsellor who is working with a group in Washington DC that works for creating awareness among the American Muslims about the power of their votes. He was explaining the reasons while we sat holding our heads in disgust.
Then there are some American Muslims who have a reason for not participating in the democratic process which is something beyond one’s imagination.
“Two party system in the United States is nothing but a joke”, said a well-known Asian-American Muslim doctor we met in Salt Lake City. “Republicans and Democrats both have miserably failed in coming to the expectations of the masses. Moreover, when it comes to their own interests, they are both same. People need a better option that they don’t have”, he added. However, he could not say anything when it was pointed that the similar situation could arise even when there are more than two parties in the fray.
Alejandro Beutel – the enthusiastic young convert associated with Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). Son of Jewish father and Christian mother, Alejandro after converting to Islam is always ready to work beyond his assignments at MPAC for the creation of a strong American Muslim community.
American Muslims’ lack of interest in the system just doesn’t stop here. It goes further down to an extent where they don’t even want to involve themselves in government jobs – considered in the United States as one of the most secure and at the time when people from other communities and religions are grabbing every opportunity in hand to have them for their kids and kin. Politics for the American Muslims is a waste of time and a job at the White House, Capitol Hill and other government offices for most of the parents is not as lucrative for their children as the careers in other professions. The result is that the American Muslims neither have their own political voice nor have enough number of people in the US government offices. Against this backdrop, it is not surprising when we find them relying on others when it is needed to raise an issue in the power corridors.
Things, however, began changing rapidly after 9/11 terrorist attack. Under attack from almost every corner of the society it was then that they realised the importance of having a strong presence – political as well as at the administrative level – in the United States. Then began some very positive roles played by various Islamic Centres spread all across the United States. The centre heads effectively used their premises to create awareness among the Muslim masses. Campaigns highlighting the importance of voting, government jobs and also the importance of alliance with people from other faiths and communities became an essential part of the Friday sermon. Simultaneously, they also realised the value of having their own organisations to work for creating awareness among the community on one hand and on the other, play the desired role when it is needed to lobby or raise an issue in front of the government in an effective way.
Hajra, Summer and Aqueela. Hajra is working in the office of Senator Keith Ellison whereas Summer with Senator Sheila Jackson. Hajra, Summer and Aqeeula, who is just a trainee are all very eager to lend their helping hands for the betterment of the community, and also ready to stand firmly by the community if and when it would need them.
The efforts are not unreturned. They helped in bringing a pragmatic shift in the mindset of the community specially the younger generations. Today we have quite a few numbers of American Muslims who not only take pride in working with the government but also have political ambitions – something that was missing in the American Muslim community till September the 11.
Among them is Assad R. Akhter – the young and dynamic Legislative Director to Bill Pascrell Jr., Member of Congress from New Jersey and the Founder-President of Congressional Muslim Staffers Association (CMSA). CMSA is composed of Muslim staffers in the US House of Representatives, US Senate, Library of Congress, Congressional Budget Office and the Capitol Hill Police. We met Assad Akhter in the Capitol Building office of the New Jersey Representative and also saw him addressing the community after the Friday prayers inside the Capitol Building. The young chap seems to be having the kind of qualities that an emerging leader needs. If we combine with these qualities the faith and trust that the other co-workers at the Capitol Hill have in him, one can easily predict in Assad Akhter a future community leader.
Among them is Alejandro Beutel – the enthusiastic young convert associated with Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). Son of Jewish father and Christian mother, Alejandro after converting to Islam is always ready to work beyond his assignments at MPAC for the creation of a strong American Muslim community.
And among them are the young girls like Aqueela, Hajra and Summer. Hajra is working in the office of Senator Keith Ellison whereas Summer with Senator Sheila Jackson. Hajra, Summer and Aqeeula, who is just a trainee are all very eager to lend their helping hands for the betterment of the community, and also ready to stand firmly by the community if and when it would need them.
In these youngsters like Assad, Alejandro, Aqueela, Hajra and Summer, the Muslims in America have found the success mantra for creating a strong American Muslim community. And the way the young Muslims are working today in America, one is sure that sooner not later a strong Muslim community in the United States having a strong presence at the political as well as the administrative level would be a reality. In India, however, the Muslims have to wait for some more time before they could dream for the desired change. Unless, of course, they too try to reinvent their young generation.
Comment on this article
Ummid.com is part of Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and condition mentioned.