Nov 13, 2012

Moving Forward - A Reflection on 2012 American Elections

By Nidah Chatriwala


Bismillah

As most of us spent our Tuesday night glued to our news sources, voting polls counted ballots which declared President Obama’s re-election for a second term. The results may have sparked a night of celebration for some and others shed tears at the ungodly hour.

As they say, “one man’s loss is another man’s gain”. But under all this noise, where’s the voice of Muslim Americans? What was their role in the national elections? 

Though neither of the candidates made much effort to appeal to the Muslim American voters, local Muslims in cities such as Houston, Los Angles, and Chicago did their best to encourage their peers to go out there and vote. Indian/Pakistani radio stations played voting ads nonstop and had local city officials come on air to speak about why they deserve to be voted into office and how they hold key solutions to revamp and protect the lagging economy.

As history holds evidence, this year of campaigning too had political candidates playing aggressively as they bashed each other out and took a stab at each other’s flaws. But how much are they willing to keep the promises they make so easily to the people who are patiently praying for change? It is difficult to believe politicians because they always have a hidden agenda behind their crispy white smiles. They claim they are one of us when they sign bills with ink that will cost countless innocent blood to spill.

From a voters’ standpoint, the decision to which candidate they should cast their vote for is difficult. Mostly for the educated youth this is a problem because their open-mind doesn’t hold them limited to the political party they registered their name under. Instead, they go by opinions expressed around them or they lack in their research to understand the candidates’ stance on various issues and just take them for the face value. This mistake could have been in favor for either of the two attention-grabbing candidates in the Obama vs. Romney race.

Correspondingly, Muslim Americans need a leader who is not Islamophobic. We need a government that is transparent and a leader who is open to sharing their “action plan” on building foreign relations with the Muslim nations. That would help us get a better understanding of which candidate is open to building bridges between Muslim and non-Muslim American citizens.

Did Muslim American votes show any impact in this election? Yes, says scholar Shaykh Ahmad Kutty from Islamic Institute of Toronto. He believes, "As Muslims, we have the duty to command good and forbid evil. When we translate this into political action, we are to support those candidates who uphold the values or principles we cherish. So, if we find a candidate who upholds the values or principles that we cherish, then we are to support him. If however, we do not find such a candidate but we are left with two and each of them has positive and negative sides, then we should support the one whose positive side outweighs the negative.”

Choosing between lesser of the two evils, doesn’t make it right nor can the sins be forgotten by the Muslims who played the role of casualty under U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, used as bait in Afghanistan, shot and killed in Libya and Egypt due to the constantly changing political strategy between world leaders.

After seeing the dirty picture of politics, can a Muslim following Islamic ideology survive against the corrupted temptations of governmental politics? 

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below!

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