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Why is Civic Engagement Important?
They said, “Why don’t you go back to where you came from?”
They said about us, “Aiding the enemy is treason.”
They said, “I don’t know who these people are.”
These are the statements I heard, repeatedly at city council meetings, in the media, whenever a new masjid, Islamic center or Islamic school would open up.
Why are we always seen as the other? When we were born here, raised here, live here. This is our home. There is no other place to go back to.
Last year, a few of us met realizing there was a need to have a masjid in Brooklyn Park. We knew what we would be up against. So, based on history, we decided on a plan.
A plan to show up. A plan to be engaged. A plan to be part of the community.
We met with the mayor, with city council members, the planning commission. And then we actually applied to be on the Commissions.
A commission is a volunteer group that provides recommendations and suggestions to the City Council, either on specific issues or special areas of concern regarding a government or community function.
By: Fedwa Wazwaz
On Saturday, November 1, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Minnesota (CAIR-MN), in partnership with the Abubakar As-Sidique Islamic Center, will host a Voter Education Forum featuring Minnesota Muslim civic leaders.
The event seeks to prepare community members for Election Day. It will include a training on government offices and positions, same-day voter registration, and voter rights; translated voter guides; and a Minnesota Muslim civic leaders panel discussion featuring Congressman Keith Ellison.
Ellison and other panelists will share some of their personal experiences of how they first became involved in the political process and why it’s important for Minnesota Muslims to get involved.
CAIR-MN Civic Engagement Project Coordinator Amber Michel explains, “The goal is to help our community members see government as something that belongs to them, a place where they are welcome and a system that is better for their participation in it.”