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A Muslim’s Short and Turbulent Political Career

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public_speaking*This article is a guest submission highlighting the personal experience of one Muslim’s foray into the political scene. It is kept anonymous to protect the identities of those involved.

Mr. Tall, former dean of a local high school, had expelled my friend Musa three days after 9-11. Several years later, he was running for public office and Musa was flipping out ranting about it and how we had to do something. I agreed and what followed was a struggle between the both of us each trying to get the other to run. Eventually he said that if I were to just put my name on the ballot he would do all the work. Naively, I accepted the proposition.

We made this decision two months before election day. With no funding and on such short notice we didn’t expect to win but we thought perhaps we might make somewhat of a difference.

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After getting my name on the ballot, I thought I might visit Mr. Severity for advice. He was running a masjid like it was his own little emirate, leveraging it to appoint himself as spokesman for the city’s Muslim community. The position won him contacts with the local politicians and so I figured I’d sit down with him for a chat.

When I arrived for our appointment it was him and Mr. Shine, a Black brother who I didn’t know. I made my salam and before I was able to utter another word Mr. Shine launched into an enraged rant accusing me of dividing the Muslims who were historically united in backing one candidate. Irony of ironies the one they were backing was the very same bigoted, Muslim hating, Mr. Tall that inspired us to run in the first place. All the while Mr. Severity observed silently. Mr. Shine let me know that this was characteristic of immigrant Muslims, Arabs and Pakistanians (as he liked to call them) who came to this country and took advantage of the gains of civil rights Blacks had won while deserting them and pretending to be White. That is until 9-11 forced us into a compromising position.

The gesticulating and violent finger pointing went on until I had lost my patience. “You don’t know a damn thing about me!” I was on my feet shouting. “And I don’t know who the hell you are that you think you can talk to me like this!” While storming out Mr. Severity intercepted me saying that if I planned to run for public office I couldn’t be so easily angered. When I sat down again, Mr. Shine began his tirade once again, though he toned it down considerably. Tuning him out I thought to myself that this campaign was already getting ugly. After five minutes I excused myself feeling a little dazed.

Televised Debate

There was a televised debate which was, rather democratically, restricted to the “major” candidates. So I showed up anyway and sat in the audience to get an idea of what the issues in this race were going to be. Out of nowhere a Jewish man with an uncanny resemblance to Woody Allen jumps on stage and demands to be included. It was Mr. Green another candidate who was not invited to participate. Eventually he was escorted off stage by police but he made headlines and I suspect that’s what he was after. Ironically, it turned out that me and Mr. Green became very friendly as the race progressed. Eventually Mr. Green, the only Jewish candidate, actually ended up endorsing me, the only Arab Muslim candidate! Who knew?

Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and with a prayer rug slung over my shoulder for when I had to pray maghrib, I began schmoozing with journalists and activists after the debate. It was amusing that people kept asking me about my prayer rug as they thought it was part of some Muslim traditional garb. One person of interest that I met was a peace activist, Mr. Blond. We ended up talking about his activities in the city and he told me that his group was able to get an anti-Iraq war resolution passed in the city council. I was impressed. He also told me that one of the other candidates, Mr. Donut had retaliated by sponsoring a pro-war resolution which also got passed. Armed with this information I resolved to punish Mr. Donut.

The Muslim Debate

The Muslims sponsored a debate which was hosted by Mr. Severity’s masjid. Out of all the debates I had attended this was an incredibly atrocious disaster.

I was the first candidate to show up and when I did several uncles crowded around me, happy to finally meet the Muslim candidate. All of them started talking at me telling me how wonderful it was that a Muslim was getting into politics, yadda yadda yadda. They didn’t care much to hear anything I had to say. All of a sudden their gazes shifted to something behind me. I turned to look and it was one of the “serious” candidates, Mr. Slick, that had arrived. When I turned back I was surprised to see that everyone had disappeared. Turning around again I saw that all the uncles were running after Mr. Slick jostling with each other to be the one closest to him. It was embarrassing and pathetic watching them like this.

All the candidates were treated to dinner. Sitting with them I heard them complain that they didn’t want to be eating dinner. They wished they could just come over, do the debate and get going. Gracious guests, indeed.

When it was time for the debate first there was the recitation of the Quran. Then there was the reading of the translation of the Quran. Then there was recitation of an Arabic nasheed. Then there was the translation of the nasheed. Then a total of four masjid emirs had to come up and give terribly irrelevant, unintelligible speeches with thick accents into a terrible audio system. Then, every candidate was ceremoniously given a gift of the Quran and some other books. This whole grueling process took nearly an hour.

Then came the introductions. One of the most humiliating moments of the entire campaign for me.

Some grimy masjid emir gets up and introduces each candidate describing his experience including current and previous posts. When he came to introduce me last he said, “And then there is our brother so and so, at least he’s running.”

I turned beat reed from rage. What kind of introduction was that?! How demeaning! I’m still furious writing about it. I felt like I should just walk off the stage. He spoke as though he was humoring me. This emir didn’t even know me, he could have asked how I wanted to be introduced, but instead I got an “at least he’s running.”

Anyway, the Muslims asked two questions, one about parking on Jum’aa and the other about a serious policy issue. Then the adhan for maghrib started so the moderator announced that we would continue after the prayer. The candidates all objected saying that they were told the debate would be over at 7:30 and that they had other places to be. So that’s how the debate ended. Two questions, a meal nobody enjoyed, several speeches no one was listening to and the only Muslim running humiliated.

The Other Debates

There was a debate sponsored by some local gay and lesbian group that I passed on. But from what I heard it was much, much more superior to the disastrous Muslim debate.

At this point I had done a great deal of research into the issues and discovered that there was a whole mess of in-plain-sight corruption and what amounted to theft. I suppose people were just too apathetic to do anything. Regardless, at the debates I let loose and tore into the issues.

Never once did I mention I was a Muslim at a debate but I was rockin’ a serious beard and I looked pretty Arab. I always stuck exclusively to the issues. But it was no secret I was a Muslim. A journalist interviewed me and I did talk about my religion as part of the interview. Unfortunately, she made the whole entire article about religion.

Anyway, at one of my better debate performances, an older lady raised her hand to ask a question directed at me. I was pretty happy. I was like, this is it. There was something profound that I said about public policy that really resonated and she was asking about it. Or perhaps I really struck a nerve and she wanted to challenge me. I was screaming “bring it on!” in my head.

So she asks, “Mr. So and so how will you protect this city from terrorism if you are elected.” I couldn’t help myself. I busted out laughing.

Eventually, I replied that it was very strategic of her to direct this question at the only Muslim candidate even though I was sure that the rest of the candidates probably had a great deal to say about this issue. Then of course I dazzled by putting terrorism in perspective saying that there were much graver threats to our safety like the environment, drunk driving and the like that had much larger body counts. I then said that regarding terrorism there were countries that didn’t worry about it, like New Zealand. They didn’t invade or occupy anyone and consequently they lived peacefully. So long as America stood for justice in the world we would be safe and that is what we should strive to do.

I remember it being a bit more eloquent but anyway, it was a slam dunk.

Getting Mr. Donut

I decided early on in the campaign that Mr. Donut would be my arch rival. Mr. Donut was a disgusting human being in general. Just a few months ago this charmer, who still holds public office, was in the news for getting drunk and exposing himself in public. At a debate I remember talking privately to Mr. Slick who described Mr. Donut as a human orifice. I responded that regardless, backbiting was wrong. He informed me that he had called Mr. Donut a human orifice on numerous occasions to his face.

Anyway, at the very first debate where Mr. Donut was present I added to my closing statement that he supported the immoral Iraq war and that voters should shun him for this. Having already had his closing statement he couldn’t respond except to stand up, shocked and red faced screaming that we should “support the troops” I shot back that we should support the troops by bringing them home which earned some applause. Him on the other hand, he was booed down with the moderators berating him for breaking protocol.

After the debate he approached me saying that it wasn’t true that he had supported the war. He also said that he didn’t sponsor any pro-war resolutions and that I should get my facts straight. I spoke to Mr. Blond and asked him if he had any evidence. With great enthusiasm he took me to his apartment and showed me the copies of all the relevant resolutions. Mr. Donut had indeed sponsored the pro-war resolution which was embarrassingly filled with bad grammar, typos and misspellings. This was too easy.

At the next debate, once again I attacked Mr. Donut at the end of my closing statement. This time I explained how he had lied to me previously and I began pointing out the careless errors in his resolution. Again, because he had previously finished his closing statement he stood up doubly shocked and red-faced disingenuously shouting “support the troops.” Once again he was booed to my unbridled glee.

Finally, he came to me at the beginning of the next debate and confronted me. I told him that I would cease attacking him if he clearly stated that he was against the war during the debate. To be honest this was a completely irrelevant issue for a local election but I did set out to have some fun and this was exceedingly enjoyable. Anyway, our friend Mr. Donut agreed that he would declare the Iraq war immoral. He didn’t of course and so I made sure that in my closing statement I described his support for the war and how he broke his earlier promise to me. He was ready this time and stood up out of turn to shout “support the troops” but without the red-faced, wild-eyed rage. He was booed again anyway.

The Interviews

The local paper scheduled an interview with me. A journalist who described herself as an agnostic Jew conducted it. We talked a little about my religion which to my surprise became the prime focus of the final printed article. Before she left however I remember we started getting into a general discussion about religion where I, perhaps unwisely, began doing some dawah. Somewhere in the conversation she said that her husband was an atheist to which I shook my head and bluntly said, “that’s terrible.” She asked me why and I replied that with clear signs like the universe, the Earth and all the teeming life around us such a belief was ridiculous. I’m just glad she didn’t take vengeance on me in the article.

I also had a very uncomfortable television interview where my face was slathered with make-up for the first and only time in my life. When I was finally interviewed it was one of the most surreal moments of my life. This plastic faced woman unthinkingly asked me questions from a list on a teleprompter and while I answered she distracted me as she stared at me making random facial gestures. She would nod her head at me in agreement, cock her head to the side in contemplation or raise her eyebrows in interest at completely random and inappropriate times presumably in order for these expressions to be later cut into the final aired interview.

Ambushed by Mr. Tall’s Minion

I was at city hall for some business I had to take care of when one of Mr. Tall’s minions, Mr. Chicago ran into me and invited me to his office to talk. Mr. Chicago introduced himself as a Muslim, the Nation of Islam kind. He started lecturing me on gentrification and racism. He started attacking the White Man and Jews as controlling the government and carving out the largest piece of the pie for themselves. He really went off on the Jews and I didn’t know if he really believed what he was saying or if he was trying to manipulate me thinking, that as a Muslim, this is what I wanted to hear. As a matter of fact I don’t even know if he was telling the truth about him being any kind of Muslim. His racism really turned me off but all the while I kept asking him about the bottom line.

He was basically trying to get me to concede to Mr. Tall. I told him that first I could not make the decision myself because I had to consult my team (by this time we had a team) and that even though I was running for the office, I considered myself a first amongst equals in our little shura. Second, we would not concede for free. I was committed to refusing any personal gains in return for conceding but what we had to have were publicly declared promises by Mr. Tall that he would enact specific positive reforms in our name. Thus we could demonstrate that we had run for office and made a positive difference to the city.

Mr. Chicago suggested a meeting between my team and Mr. Tall. So we set a date.

The Muslim Strategy Session

So the Muslims wanted to support Mr. Tall and he wanted me to concede to him. We decided to consider it but we were going to ask for concessions. While we were at it we thought we might go there as representatives of the Muslim community. So I called the emir, Mr. Severity, and asked him to convene a meeting of the who’s who of the city’s Muslims the night before we would meet with Mr. Tall. I brought my team and I also invited someone from an Arab anti-racism association, Mr. Long to come and advice us. I figured we could make a list of the grievances of the Muslims and present them to Mr. Tall.

The meeting was a disaster. Mr. Long came with his own agenda. He started introducing himself and making a long presentation about his organization and their past activities. I was about to shut him up by telling him that we needed to get to the topic at hand when Mr. Shine, who was also present opened his mouth and started interrupting him. Still irritated at Mr. Shine I stubbornly allowed Mr. Long to continue. It was not the wisest thing I could have done. Eventually Mr. Long praised a previous mayor of the city who was unpopular with the local Muslims. This sent Mr. Shine into fits and he began to argue aggressively with Mr. Long who argued back. The meeting degenerated from then on until it completely disintegrated.

Eventually, it was just my team left in the room and we debated until fajr on what course of action to take. We decided that we would bring the few Muslim grievances we knew about to Mr. Tall’s attention as well as our concessions and play the rest by ear.

Meeting Mr. Tall

So the day had come. Mr. Noid, the third member of our core team spoke to me and Musa in the morning. He made a strong statement challenging why we thought we should go and represent the Muslims before Mr. Tall. They did not ask us to be their representatives. They were not even supporting us, rather all of their leaders were actively hostile to us. The atrocious leadership of the Muslims in the city was as corrupt and sycophantic as its politicians and we were just being naive. We should march into Mr. Tall’s office and make our city policy demands independent of these Muslims. We decided that we would follow his advice.

On the way to Mr. Tall’s office we almost got into a car accident. We swerved out of the way of a car which swerved away from us into the curb and destroyed its front axle and wheel. We got out to see if the driver was OK. He was and we exchanged info. I told him that I had to go because were meeting Mr. Tall who the other driver said he knew personally. Off we went.

It was me, Mr. Noid and Musa who arrived for the meeting. I was a little anxious because of Musa’s history with Mr. Tall. I told him that what was done was done and we couldn’t let the past interfere with our current negotiations. Musa understood. We were greeted by Mr. Chicago the Nation of Islam Muslim who asked us if we wanted anything to drink. Since it was Ramadan we told him we were fasting. He responded with an “oh, I can appreciate that.” So much for being a Muslim.

He showed us in to see Mr. Tall where we all sat down and endured a long uncomfortable silence. Mr. Tall broke it with a, “well?” I responded with a “well what?” “There was something you wanted,” he said. I responded saying, There was nothing we wanted, rather it’s you that wants us to concede and endorse you. And we may consider it if we can come to an agreement.” What followed was us describing one proposal after another which he shot down as impractical or impossible because of budgeting. When we suggested a symbolic city resolution objecting to the patriot act he launched into a contemptuous Mr. Shine-like rant about how Muslims are now becoming so keen on civil rights after being targeted post 9-11 while Black people had struggled for these causes for decades.

At some point I found that Mr. Tall was staring holes into Musa. Everyone was silent. Mr. Tall then took off his glasses, leaned forward and continued staring at Musa while Musa looked back at him casually. More silence. Mr. Tall blurted out “I can do this all day.” Musa, then looked around confused and asked what was going on. I waved towards them “apparently you and Mr. Tall are having a staring contest.” Musa let out a confused, “what?” Musa was blind as a bat without his glasses which he forgot in the car so when he was looking at Mr. Tall who had been talking at the time, he squinted. Mr. Tall interpreted this as initiating a challenge.

While I was hoping that Mr. Tall wouldn’t remember Musa that’s not how things worked out. They launched into an argument about when Musa was expelled. At this point I figured this meeting wasn’t salvageable and thought I might as well enjoy the show. When they settled down, Mr. Tall turned to me and said, “I heard you got into an accident.” Apparently the other driver had already phoned him. I affirmed it and said that I would be taking care of that. He responded that I should have driven carefully on the way and that there was never any need to rush to get to him. He then told me to be careful to which I casually nodded. He leaned forward and said it again, slowly, deliberately. “Be … Careful.” Musa and Mr. Noid looked at each other and I again said casually, “that’s not a problem.”

We got up to leave and when we got outside Musa and Mr. Noid said that Mr. Tall had been threatening me with his ominous “be careful.” I didn’t see it. But they accused me of being oblivious. Who was this guy that he thought he could intimidate me? I just couldn’t fathom someone in his position trying to intimidate me. It was ridiculous. Anyway, in general there was nothing sincere or inviting about this man. He sneered at us from across the table and he came across as barely tolerating us. This guy was a politician but he couldn’t even fake being friendly to get what he wanted. Yet, again, this is the candidate the Muslims were supporting.

The Two Betrayals

In order to inform the city’s Muslims of my candidacy I would speak after the Juma prayer for a few minutes. I had arranged with one masjid to do so on a specific Friday. When I arrived early that Friday I found another candidate, Mr. Frog, being led around by a really slimy looking Muslim. He was talking to the masjid board member that I had previously scheduled with. The board member then comes to me and tells me that I can’t speak this Friday because Mr. Frog will be speaking. I protest that I had scheduled this far in advance. Mr. Frog’s Muslim came up to me and pleaded with me to let Mr. Frog go today. I refused. He then swore that he would “take care of me” and that he would support my candidacy and would support me with money and the like. I thought all this talk was a little ridiculous considering he was obviously supporting Mr. Frog. I ignored him and turned to the masjid board member and asked him what he was going to do. He got frustrated and angry and yelled, “You two figure it out!” then he left, went into his office and slammed the door. I couldn’t believe how utterly unprofessional, irresponsible and disrespectful this was. Mr. Frog’s Muslim then started at me again with pathetically veiled lies trying to cajole me into conceding the day. I was so shocked and disgusted with the whole situation. This slimy Muslim started touching me in such phony gestures of friendship that I gave in just so that he would leave me alone.

I prayed Juma that day depressed and revolted at what was going on. For some naïve reason, at the time, I had thought better of the Muslims.

Later that day my mother received a phone call from her friend who prayed in Mr. Severity’s masjid asking her if I had conceded to Mr. Tall. My mother said that I had done no such thing. She then informed my mother that Mr. Severity had stood up in the masjid after Juma and announced that I had conceded to Mr. Tall so no one should vote for me. The previous week I had spoken at that masjid. Furious, I called Mr. Severity who told me that I had told him that I was conceding to Mr. Tall. I hung up on him.

What was wrong with these people?! I never in a million years expected this kind of insidious behavior. I was so naïve back then that I’m embarrassed writing this down. It turns out that people like Mr. Severity were notorious in the community for being deceitful. Others went so far as to call them hypocrites. Mr. Severity was the sort of person who glued a massive decal of the yellow support the troops ribbon on his SUV stretching from the hood to the rear window. A simple bumper sticker would not have been enough apparently. He was also the sort of person who called the police to arrest a brother for trespassing in a masjid who was only calling for the release of masjid financial information. Turns out another one of these masjid emirs would also refuse to release masjid financial data but his interest in politics was primarily because he would trade his support and campaign contributions for sweet heart sales of city property. And the list goes on.

The only masjids that seemed sincere were completely apolitical, leaving the other sheisters free to assert that they were the voice of the city’s Muslims.

What Happened Next

Election day came and went. I lost but came out with the most votes out of the independent candidates which still wasn’t much. Mr. Tall, the Muslim’s choice, lost to Mr. Frog. I came out with an incredible aversion to politics and a deep festering hatred for a small but influential group of Muslims. It didn’t matter at all that they didn’t support me. What hurt was the disrespect, dishonesty, pettiness and corruption that was rampant amongst them. These weren’t some average Muslims but the self-proclaimed leaders of the community. I still have a bad taste in my mouth.

Mr. Voir is choosing to remain anonymous to protect the identities of the many Muslims in this article.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Farzana

    April 20, 2009 at 4:49 AM

    I’m really sorry to hear about your experience, but you were extremely brave and your sincerity shows, so don’t give up. Allah (swt) does not the change the condition of anyone until we choose to change it ourself first. Unfortunately this is true of Muslims and our predicament of suffering around the world. No one can oppress us without our own brothers having colluded with the opressors somewhere down the line. Our puppet goverments cannot oppress their citizens without themselves being in the pockets of the oppressors. We are desparetly lacking in sincerity, which is where real Iman lies. So when muslims shout slogans accusing the west of our problems they really need to look closer to home for the source of the problem. It was one of Jesus’ own disciples that betrayed him. It was Joseph’s own brothers that threw him in the well, it was members of our Prophet (saw) own family who were his arch enemies.

  2. Zainab

    April 20, 2009 at 6:11 AM

    This is a very sad state of affairs. Like the sister above quoted, Allah does not change the state of a people until they change themselves.
    A Muslim is apparent first and foremost through his/her Ikhlaaq. This includes manners, state of affairs, interactions, dealings, everything.

    We have all these vices such as corruption, and greed within us, and yet we blame others for our problems.

    May Allah guide us to true Iman in the heart that manifests itself in the tongue and limbs.

    Ameen.

  3. tahir

    April 20, 2009 at 7:33 AM

    What you did was a brave thing and you stood up and toke a swing thats all that matters, who cares about the home run.

    but this whole experience must have taught you a great deal and heroes often lose but eventually they win.

    wish you all the best in the next election, which we hope will be soon cause mr.obama is not promising at all!

    as for the masjid imam thats just plain disgraceful what he did and sadly (i dont want to generalize) but muslim clergy has also gone to seed and its rare to come across clergy that is sincere honest and high in taqwa and free of worldly pleasures..

    and this mr.tall is he a muslim? because if he is non muslim then muslims should not endorse him , esp a masjid’s staff!

  4. Umm Fulaanah

    April 20, 2009 at 7:54 AM

    I love the fact that you actually went in and gave the whole thing a shot…

    And it’s very embarrassing to see how the Muslim Ummah is dealing with everything and everyone around the… just as the Sr. Farzana stated…. we cannot change anything unless we change ourselves….

    Still many congrats for going in there and showing you care…. im hoping you’ll go back in and try that again and encourage more ‘like-minded’ people to join you… rather than them who just do it for the fun-of-it…..

  5. Farhan

    April 20, 2009 at 10:04 AM

    Just personally, I do not think I would be able to handle politics. Must take a really strong person to do it…

  6. MM Associates

    April 20, 2009 at 10:54 AM

    This article was great. -Amatullah

  7. Siraaj Muhammad

    April 20, 2009 at 12:29 PM

    Sounds like you have a series of books you can write =) The characters are pretty interesting.

    Siraaj

  8. l Nahyan l

    April 20, 2009 at 1:02 PM

    that’s a very interesting and captivating article.

    it is unfortunate to hear some of the insider info from your campaign, but i’m really happy to know you went through with it.
    InshaAllah this opens the door for Muslims to persist and get involved politically.

    i’m guessing you’re not signing up for that again :) wallahualim.

    jazakallahukhair wa salaam alaikum
    Nahyan

  9. ibnabeeomar

    April 20, 2009 at 2:40 PM

    i find it funny that the google ads at the end say “political asylum” and “funeral services”

    so i guess politics will either make you crazy or kill you :)

  10. DrM

    April 20, 2009 at 4:33 PM

    Politics is about as dirty as it gets. I don’t trust anyone running a 5 star masjid, and words fail to express my contempt for the know-nothing uncles and house Muslims running them.

  11. Mr. Voir

    April 20, 2009 at 5:17 PM

    Thank you for your compliments. I do not really want to return to politics. However, recent developments in my area have made me optimistic lately.

    I decided to write the article to get quite a bit of anger off my chest and to warn people of the challenges that they might face. At least they might be able to benefit from my experience and go in with both eyes wide open.

    As negative as this experience was what has been happening lately is that several practicing Muslims who seem to me to be sincere are running for office with a good chance of winning. They represent the new face of American Islam. Confident, unapologetic American Muslims with integrity and ambition that are asserting and defining the Muslim roles in this society.

    Just look at this guy. He is also on the huffington post!

    @tahir,

    Maybe I wasn’t clear but there were no masjid Imams in my story. The one who lied about my concession was the masjid emir Mr. Severity. He was a masjid board member and business man, not an imam. He would hire the imams and then have them replaced if they did anything but lead the prayer.

    @farzana,

    I was more carefree than brave.

  12. ibnkhalil

    April 20, 2009 at 7:11 PM

    I fell asleep halfway through the article. :)

  13. Ahmad AlFarsi

    April 20, 2009 at 11:46 PM

    @Mr. Voir

    subhanAllah, I know Br. Azam from my east coast days :) he even attended Ilm Summit. May Allah grant him success in his endeavors. ameen.

  14. mohamed

    April 21, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    Nothing new here. Nearly every major masjid has those types of characters. If you want to win the muslim vote, the smart thing to do is have a nice big barbeque and invite the entire muslim community via email (the free food thing always works), and give a nice motivational speech.

  15. Zaynab

    April 21, 2009 at 2:26 PM

    Masha’Allah, really well written. You should consider doing more writing, if you don’t already.

    As someone naive to Masjid politics and Muslim community politics in general, this is pretty heartbreaking, and sadly I hear more and more people bringing these issues up.

    Thanks for the insight.

  16. Olivia

    April 21, 2009 at 2:36 PM

    this article was entertaining, enlightening and bizarre all at the same time. i really liked it.

  17. Siraaj Muhammad

    April 21, 2009 at 3:16 PM

    It’s times like these when I say, build your own masjid…

    Siraaj

  18. Musafir

    April 22, 2009 at 4:43 PM

    Its so sad to see the reality, I have witnessed similar things as an election officer of the masjid in our community, things are worse when it comes to elections at the masjid… :(, its hard to see some actions of people whom one respects (at times, one would be dumbfounded)…
    may Allah azzawajal protect us

  19. Ibn Masood

    April 22, 2009 at 5:32 PM

    @ Author: Interesting article, jazakAllah khair

    @ Siraaj: x2 on that proposal.

  20. iMuslim

    April 24, 2009 at 7:50 PM

    I am a bit late to this article, but I really enjoyed it for its candidness.

    There is definitely a lesson here for everyone; the masaajid are ‘political’ enough – don’t include them in your campaign. Best to reach out to the very tips of those grass roots. In that sense, I really like the BBQ idea someone mentioned above!

    Further, don’t run as a “Muslim candidate”, but rather, a candidate who has Islamic values which are compatible with those of the community you wish to serve, if elected. It’s not about secularism, but rather, trying to be ‘one of the people’.

    And whatever happens: don’t count on Muslim support. You’re guaranteed be disappointed; we’re just too fallible. Instead, count on the support of Allah. As corny as it sounds, countless Muslim leaders (the good ones) have had to act against the wishes of the people, for the sake of the greater good. It’s like being a responsible parent, I suppose.

    I know that doesn’t sound very democratic, but what government really is?

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