Muslim Voter Registration Drives in New York

June 16, 2003

Source: The New York Times

On June 16, 2003 The New York Times reported that "as worshipers at the Islamic Center of Long Island, in Westbury, Nasau County, chatted and rose from Friday Prayers last week, Ghazi Khankan stepped before a microphone and called for the crowd's attention. Mr. Khankan, ready with a box of voter registration forms, wanted to make voters of everyone present, as part of his effort to register 100,000 Muslims across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut... 'As Muslims, as you are, so shall your rulers be,' Mr. Khankan, president of the New York Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the worshipers. 'If we do not participate in the political process, we will not be able to influence it. It is urgent that we do so... So began a New York campaign by the group to bolster voter registration among Muslims, part of a continuing national campaign by the council, an advocacy group based in Washington. With an eye on the 2004 elections, Muslim groups across the country want to strengthen their political voice, and political agents like Mr. Khankan are going mosque to mosque to do so... The registration campaign comes at a time when more and more American Muslims are becoming politically active, said leaders from Muslim and Arab-American groups. Antiterrorism measures adopted since Sept. 11, like the registration and detention of thousands of Arab and Muslim men, have pushed civil liberties issues to the fore."