(April 25, 2011) – Get out and vote on May 2nd is the message community leaders are sending out to Canadian Muslims.
“As citizens in a democracy, voting is one of our basic civic rights and responsibilities,” stated Wahida Valiante, National President of the Canadian Islamic Congress. “In order to fully exercise that right, we must participate actively in the political process. We can do this by becoming informed, by volunteering our time, and by supporting candidates who understand and uphold our concerns.”
A recent report from the Washington based Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life pegs the number of Canadian Muslims at around 940,000 or 2.8% of the population with growth estimates that this number will triple and increase to 6.6% by 2030.
Muslims are being told by their religious leaders that by voting they can contribute to Canadian society.
“All of us who came here from other parts of the world have chosen willingly to live Canada. It has been our choice to stay here rather than seek somewhere else to call home. Then let us involve ourselves wholeheartedly in Canadian society and be unhesitating in our commitment to promoting goodness, justice, and fairness for all,” said Ottawa’s Imam Zijad Delic.
“Voting in a democratic system is one of the few ways to affect social changes, and as Muslims it is our civic and religious duty to strive to move the society forward as closely as possible to the ideals of justice, fairness, equity, and compassion for all,” said Toronto’s Imam Ahmad Kutty.
Meanwhile, Muslims have felt slighted by the Conservative government policies and the party’s failure to reach out to them during the campaign.
“Having cast his lot with Jewish Canadians, Harper ignored the 750,000 Muslims who encompass Arabs, South Asians, West Asians (Afghans, Iranians) and others. To him, being pro-Jewish and pro-Israeli meant being anti-Arab and anti-Muslim. He cancelled funding for the Canadian Arab Federation and never stepped into a mainstream mosque,” Toronto Star’s Haroon Siddiqui wrote in his op-ed piece on Sun Apr 24 2011.
Social media has been abuzz urging community members to get active by voting and volunteering, especially in key ridings where Muslims are concentrated.
A popular Toronto web portal, TorontoMuslims.com, has been at the forefront of getting the message out to GTA Muslims.
“Federal Elections are just days away and there is a lot at stake for the future of our country and the Muslim community. Canadian Muslims can’t afford to ignore these elections! Come out with your family and vote strategically!” declared the TorontoMuslims.com site.