Two women with Muslim headscarves walk past a voting sign in 2016 in New York.
(CNN)American Muslim activists across the country are rallying their communities Friday to participate in National Muslim Voter Registration Day to impact the 2020 presidential election.
MPower Change, in collaboration with grassroots organizations, launched the #MyMuslimVote campaign to promote a nationwide virtual registration drive. The group bills itself as the largest Muslim digital advocacy organization in the US, with more than 250,000 members.”The stakes in 2020 elections couldn’t be higher for our community,” MPower says on its website. “Join the #MyMuslimVote movement to engage, motivate, and mobilize tens of thousands of Muslim voters.”
The group aims to register American Muslim voters through its website, which also provides resources for local activists to organize within their communities.Participating organizations have already reached out to nearly half a million registered Muslim voters, and are sending email and text message reminders to encourage American Muslims to vote in person or by mail, they said.Read MoreAmerican Muslims, along with other minority communities, could help vote President Donald Trump out of the White House and usher in Democratic contender Joe Biden, MPower Change Executive Director Linda Sarsour told CNN. “We must do everything we can as Muslims to alleviate harm,” Sarsour said. “I hope Muslims join me in voting this election because we can’t allow this administration to appoint more Supreme Court Justices or federal judges who can negatively impact our lives for generations to come.”The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will also host virtual phone and text banks to assist in the effort.”If there was the full participation of Muslim voters in this election, we’d have the ability to tip the vote in Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Michigan and Connecticut. We need to make sure Muslims are inspired to vote for the candidates in front of us,” Robert McCaw, CAIR’s director of government affairs, told CNN.The Trump campaign in mid-August launched Muslim Voices for Trump. Also introduced at that time were similar coalitions for voters who identify as Indian, Hindu and Sikh. A Trump campaign site targeted to Muslim supporters includes a sign-up form, but no policy initiatives are listed. “Muslim Voices for Trump will energize and mobilize the Muslim community in re-electing President Donald J. Trump by sharing the many successes of the Trump Administration,” the site states. “Re-electing President Trump will ensure the protection of religious liberties, economic prosperity, and educational opportunities for Muslims in America.”
Following Trump’s 2016 election, American Muslims experienced a spike in hate crimes, according to data from the FBI.More than 6,100 hate crimes were reported to the FBI in 2016, with anti-Islamic or anti-Muslim crimes increasing more than 19% over the previous year, an FBI report found. It was the biggest categorical rise overall.Many American Muslim leaders attributed the spike to anti-Muslim rhetoric espoused by Trump and some of his close associates.Leaders point to Trump’s controversial comments on Syrian refugees and travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries, among other statements and policies, as evidence of his anti-Muslim bias.”There is a fire in the stomach of every Muslim voter to make sure that their voices are heard, because we are very concerned about the rise in Islamophobia in America,” McCaw said.”In the face of rising anti-Muslim political rhetoric, it inspires Muslim communities to get out and make sure we are getting the candidates in office that best respect our votes and our concerns.”Biden’s election may not change the situation for American Muslims, but it is a step in a better direction, Sarsour said.
“I don’t believe that the lives of our communities will drastically change under a Biden administration, but we can at least alleviate some of Trump’s harm and continue to build power and movements for the future,” she said.To that end, the #MyMuslimVote website allows for American Muslims to check their voter registration, register to vote, request a vote-by-mail ballot or find an in-person polling station.