MPowerChange

National Muslim Voter Registration Day

2nd Annual National Muslim Voter Registration Day on 8/23/19

 

(Washington, D.C. 08/21/2019)On Friday, August 23rd, a coalition of Muslim organizations will be hosting voter registration drives in over fifty locations nationwide in honor of National Muslim Voter Registration Day (#NMVRD). Led by MPower Change and its partners, Emgage USA, Council on American Islamic Relations, American Muslim Advisory Council, and Georgia Muslim Voter Project, the coalition consists of organizations working on both the local and national levels. The goal of these efforts is to register and further engage Muslim voters, who have already proven to be a crucial voting bloc.

“In a time of heightened islamophobia, Muslims are more politically engaged than ever. Our votes matter. It’s why no 2020 Democratic primary candidate can win the presidential nomination without the Muslim community.” – Linda Sarsour, co-founder, MPower Change

“Anyone who has lived through the past two years and believes that voting does not matter is not being honest. Muslim Americans can only protect their rights and contribute to how this country is governed by getting involved. The first step is to vote.” -Wa’el Alzayat, CEO, Emgage USA

“It is the responsibility of every American Muslim to register to vote and ensure the growth of our community’s political strength and capacity. Every aspiring politician and elected official who wants to stay in office should know one thing: that who wins or loses any given race is in the hands of only the most proactive of communities, and that includes American Muslims.” – Roula Allouch, National Board Chair, Council on American-Islamic-Relations (CAIR)

WHAT: National Muslim Voter Registration Day 2019 (#NMVRD)

WHO: A coalition of local and national Muslim organizations, including MPower Change, Emgage USA, Council on American Islamic Relations, American Muslim Advisory Council, and Georgia Muslim Voter Project

WHERE: More than fifty locations, nationwide

WHEN: Friday, August 23rd, 2019

The Muslim American community is poised to play a historical roll in the 2020 presidential elections. Muslim Americans are voting in record numbers. In the last midterm elections alone, a study conducted by Emgage USA found that Muslim voters grew by 25 percent from 2014 in key swing states, like Ohio, Virginia, and Michigan. From opposing the travel ban to family separation, our community has consistently stood-up against hate and discrimination while resisting the politics of fear and divisiveness.

 

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#NMVRD is part of the larger #MyMuslimVote campaigna national non-partisan campaign focused on increasing civic engagement in U.S. Muslim communities through voter registration, engagement, and mobilization efforts.

Listening Sessions Campaign

Join us! Host or Attend a Listening Session in your city:

Listening Sessions are events where participants can sit in small groups to describe the issues that concern them the most.
  • Participants are challenged to be as specific as possible about those issues, and they begin to wrestle with the question of whether or not they are willing to invest their time or energy into addressing those issues.
  • Listening sessions provide information about what is going on within our communities, and allow for us to understand what our members consider priorities.
  • Listening Sessions could lead to public actions or activities like town halls, meetings with elected officials, and mobilizing to vote.

Signup to host a listening session in your community center, and our team will get you the resources you need to get started!

 

#MyMuslimVote at ISNA

#MyMuslimVote at ISNA

The MPower Change team was in Houston, TX on Labor Day weekend for ISNA’s 55th Annual Convention!

We were all about getting out #MyMuslimVote. We did voter registration daily, and signed up many new partners to take the efforts to their own cities! 

 

If you stopped by our table, or took a walk around the bazaar, you would have seen hundreds of people wearing #MyMuslimVote buttons!

Our Executive Director Linda Sarsour reminded everyone about why this year is so important for Muslims. She also highlighted how now – more than ever – we need to stand on the side of the oppressed and stand for justice.

Our Organizing Director Ishraq Ali relayed the importance of building relational power with people in our mosques in order to effectively get out the Muslim Vote.

 

Our Organizing Manager Kifah Shah was everywhere during the convention – from our table, to the bazaar, to the sessions – reminding people to check their voter registration status, and signing up folks to bring #MyMuslimVote to their schools and centers.

FIBA Finally Lifts Religious Headware Ban

A small piece of good news that you may not have heard about:

FIBA, the international body that regulates professional basketball, has finally lifted its ban on religious headwear—that’s the rule that had previously kept some Muslim, Sikh, and other players from being able to play professionally.

This means that countless players, such as Muslim basketball star Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, will be able to aspire to play professionally, both at home and internationally.

“I am overwhelmed with emotion,” said Abdul-Qaadir at the news. “I’m happy to be a part of history and positive change.”

Read more in this article on Vice Sports by Shireen Ahmed:

FIBA Allows Hijab

Background photo from trailer for “Life Without Basketball”

Open Letter: Muslim Spiritual Leaders Pledge to Join the Sanctuary Movement

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful:

And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference – Quran 17:70

As Muslims, we are called on by our prophetic tradition to join and protect our congregants, neighbors, and community members facing deportation and other unjust policies.

We, the undersigned, pledge to use our resources as spiritual and congregational leaders to support the movement to create sanctuary for immigrants and refugees of all faiths and backgrounds, documented and undocumented, and anyone else who feels marginalized, frightened, or disrespected by a hateful environment. We encourage leaders in Muslim communities across the U.S. to join us and do the same.

The past eight years have been full of challenges for undocumented immigrants. While President Obama was in office, the Department of Homeland Security deported over 2.5 million people, more than any other administration in history.

We remain horrified by the systematic targeting of undocumented community members and the cruel and dehumanizing methods used against them. We grieve for those who came here seeking asylum and were turned away, with some returning only to be killed by those from whom they fled.

Given the words of Donald Trump on the campaign trail and the policies he has put forth in just the first few days of his term, we can expect the environment for our undocumented sisters and brothers to get even worse under this administration.

These will be trying times for immigrants, refugees, and undocumented members of our communities, and for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. But, as followers of the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), we are blessed to have been given clear guidance mandating compassion towards and protection of migrants. Our faith teaches us that all people are worthy of humanity—regardless of their documentation status.

When the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions fled from persecution, they were lovingly welcomed into the homes of the helpers in Madinah. God describes their attitude of those who provided sanctuary by saying, “They love those who migrate to them…and give preference to them over themselves, even though they are also in need” (Quran 59:9).

With this same loving attitude, we pledge to offer our resources to creating sanctuary for any who desire it, and to work with people of all faiths and backgrounds to build and sustain strong communities.

Please join us in taking this pledge.

In faith and solidarity,

Sr. Aisha Al-Adawiya
Dr. Jonathan Brown
Dr. Dalia Fahmy
Imam Taha Hassane
Sr. Dalia Mogahed
Shaykh Khalil Abdul Rashid
Imam Omar Suleiman
Imam Dawud Walid
Imam Suhaib Webb

Need more information to understand the sanctuary movement? This document covers it:

Sanctuary Movement Toolkit from United We Dream and Church World Service

(This toolkit was created for church communities but has background information and resources that are applicable for mosques as well.)

Ready to join the movement? Add your name to the pledge here.

Prayer wins! Victory at Standing Rock

Our Native American family just set a powerful example for our communities going into 2017—how to stand strong against forces that can seem all-powerful and unbeatable, and how to WIN.

The Army’s announcement on Sunday, denying an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline, marked a powerful victory. And we should be clear: this wasn’t a gift from President Obama or his administration—it was the result of a hard-fought struggle by the Standing Rock Sioux, supported by the more than 200 tribes who came together as water protectors and the thousands of allies like you from around the world who stood in solidarity with this movement.

This was also a victory for prayerful protest and a historic moment for faith-rooted organizing. The water protectors reminded us all that we must lead this organizing and social justice work with faith and prayer, even in the face of tear gas, attack dogs, rubber bullets, and water cannons.

We were honored to stand with Standing Rock and to call on Muslim communities to send their support. In October, our letter from 100 community leaders—most of them imams and religious scholars—and our video of young folks from our community reading the letter helped thousands of Muslims engage. By working with Native Muslims in the camp at Sacred Stone, we gave our community first-hand insights into the struggle to protect the water. And we helped raise over $15,000 for the movement and delivered ZamZam water to the tribal president of the Standing Rock Sioux.

We know that we must stay vigilant moving forward—driven by insatiable greed, the corporations behind the pipeline have vowed to press on with their assault on sacred water and land. But we should also take the time to celebrate what this win means for indigenous communities and the example it sets for all of us.

Author and activist Naomi Klein was at the Standing Rock camp when the decision was announced. Watch this powerful video of Klein interviewing 13-year-old Tokata Iron Eyes, someone many people credit with starting this remarkable movement.

Naomi Klein video from Standing Rock

In this moment, Muslim communities around the United States are struggling with concerns about our future as we head into 2017. What greater gift could we have than the incredible example of organizing and activism we just witnessed at Standing Rock? Our indigenous family have shown us how victories are achieved: not by wishing our oppressors success, but by standing firm and having faith in ourselves and our communities, even in the face of overwhelming force and violence.

We pray for the continued victories of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and all those who supported this movement: whether by their presence at the camps, or through their prayers and financial support. May this movement be the spark for us all to have the courage we need moving forward, God willing.

 

Where Do We Go From Here: Black Muslim Political Action

In the lead up to the presidential election, Sapelo Square published a series of short reflections by Black Muslims considering themes raised by Malcolm X in his famed speech, “The Ballot or the Bullet.” Their responses were diverse but one thing they all illustrated is that voting is not enough—that change only comes from sustained political action.

Building off that insight, ‘Where do we go from here?: Black Muslim Political Action’ is a conversation between five Black Muslim leaders, evaluating the political landscape under the new president in light of issues that concern Black Muslims in the United States.

This discussion identifies the possibilities and challenges we face and suggests what organizing around/responding to these issues of concern should look like in our current climate.

Still Here: Reflections after Election Day

We all had a lot to process after Tuesday’s results, so I took a day for myself before writing this.

Here’s where I am today: no less unapologetically Muslim than I was when I woke up on Tuesday morning. And ready to work just as hard as we always knew we’d have to, no matter who won this election.

If you’re with us for the long-haul—the ongoing fight for justice and peace in this country, for Muslims and all people—I hope you’ll make a donation today as we get ready for this next leg of the journey.

Tuesday was definitely a blow for our communities—this is a man who has emboldened an openly, violently, racist and Islamophobic subculture in the U.S. A man who has proposed policies like registering Muslims to track us, banning Muslims from entering the U.S., and indiscriminately bombing Muslim-majority countries.

And we should remember the other communities that he’s mocked or attacked too—Latinx people, disabled people, Black people, women, immigrants, and more—all of which, needless to say, include Muslims. This man has come after all of us, and as a Muslim community, we should offer and invite solidarity in the hard days ahead, all while continuing to build the political influence and cultural capital to protect and lobby for ourselves.

MPower Change is bringing those realms together—the political and cultural—in a way that’s desperately needed for our people. And we’ll need to double down on our strategies as we confront 2017 and beyond.

Click here if you can a support a nimble, rapid-response, Muslim-led, digitally-native, advocacy organization fighting back against Islamophobia, and fighting for justice and peace for everyone.

Here’s why I’m hopeful about what we’ll be able to achieve. First, we have some of the country’s most prominent and learned Muslim scholars, as well as some of the most seasoned activists, advising and working alongside us—people like Imam Zaid Shakir, Shaykh Omar Suleiman, Shaykha Muslema Purmul, Sister Aisha al-Adawiya, Sister Zahra Billoo, Fahd Ahmed, Imam Dawud Walid, and others. There’s blessing in having the support and prayers of people like this—and we’re grateful.

Secondly, our team is in the process of expanding to bring on more digital strategists, rolling out a program for fellows and interns, launching a new volunteer support team, and finding MPower Change leaders in every major city to give us more of an on-the-ground presence—we’re growing.

And thirdly, and certainly most importantly, are these two brief reminders. Number one, that the Quran tells us in a chapter called “The Relief” that “indeed, with hardship there is ease. Indeed with hardship, there is ease”—a reminder that every difficulty can be overcome. And number two, that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, told us:

O community of Muslims, roll up your sleeves, for the matter is momentous. Prepare for an imminent journey. Garner provision now as the journey is long. Lighten your loads, for before you is an ascent most steep! Only those traveling lightly shall bear its climb.

O humanity, before the Hour comes, you will see wonders, vast tribulations, and difficult times. Darkness will prevail, and foulness will take the forefront. Those who enjoin right will be oppressed, and those who condemn vice will be suppressed.

Hence, strengthen your faith for that time, and cling to faith as you would clench on for dear life. Flee to righteous deeds, and force yourselves to perform them. Be patient during the difficult times, and you will eventually arrive to eternal bliss.

This fight for justice and peace is destined for victory, God-willing, and full of righteous deeds—if, as a community, we could force ourselves to perform them. Please click here to chip and support our work.

In solidarity,
Linda, Dustin, Mark, Mohammad, and the MPower Change team

MPower Change joins over 70 organizations to send letter to DOJ

Given the recent increase in hate violence and discrimination targeting Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian communities, MPower Change joined with over 70 organizations to send a letter to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in September 2016. The letter outlines efforts that the Civil Rights Division could take in order to ensure the implementation of anti-discrimination laws. We continue to work with our partners at South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), who are following up on the letter’s demands with the appropriate agencies.

The full text of the letter is available below or via this link.

Request for Additional Measures to Deter Violence and Discrimination Directed against Muslim, Arab, Sikh, a… by MPower Change on Scribd

Muslims at Sacred Stone Livestream

#MuslimsAtSacredStone aims to raise awareness about the #NoDAPL movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline, about Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, and the Native Muslims who are at the intersections.

The panel below, moderated by Muslim ARC and featuring MPower Change co-founder Mark Crain, includes Muslims from various backgrounds, including Lakota, Diné, K’iche Spanish speaking Indigenous, and mixed African American-Indigenous.

Watch the panel below, which touches upon identity, Indigenous Rights, systemic racism, and Muslim solidarity.