It was a tense and stressful week for American Muslims as they waited on the election results.
Nearly 800,000 Muslim Americans voted early or absentee in just 12 states, according to Emgage, which collected the data from voter files in those states. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said that roughly 1 million American Muslims voted in the election.
Al Jazeera reports that the top concerns for Muslim voters , include healthcare, education and criminal justice reform.
It’s been one of the largest voter turnouts by Muslims, and judging from the results many are breathing a sigh of relief at the results.
In their own words
Around the globe, across social media and the dinner table, Muslims have a lot to say about American politics. Here is what some are feeling about the US election results.
“As an immigrant/refugee child ‘success story,’ I am grateful I have a voice today. For those immigrant/refugee success stories who are upset at Trump leaving office, it saddens me. During Trump’s first campaign, the terminal screens constantly read, TRUMP… ISLAMOPHOBIA.. TERRORISTS. It was the first time I dealt with such blatant, aggressive, public bigotry as a hijabi/Muslim. Today, my stance is anti-Trump. Today, my worried heart had a sigh of relief and said, Alhamdulilah. May Allah protect those whose voices are still muted, as well as our own.” Alia Taha, writer and poet
“Things are by no means perfect politically. The work isn’t even close to done. That goes without saying. But I did allow myself this quiet moment of calm. All praise is due to Allah. Now, forward.” Fatima Rahim
“…Relief, a lot less fear of being persecuted.” Aischa Staal
“…Elated. Kind of. “Cautiously optimistic” seems to be the trending phrase, so I’m going to check that box when asked how I feel today.” Marwa Abdalla
“…Hopeful, but knowing America, also cynical.” Carey Clifford
Still a Healthy Level of Skepticism
While some sighed with relief, many were still cautious about the president-elect. Joe Biden is ultimately not a magic fix, but it was perhaps a step in the right direction. Holding Biden accountable was crucial for some Muslims. Pressing issues like racism, Islamophobia, and tolerance are topics they would like to see high up on Biden’s agenda.
“I believe that we’re moving in a positive direction and moving beyond the divisiveness. However, I believe that we need to keep our eyes on the prize and not let any administration fall into the status quo. We have serious issues when it comes to healthcare, poverty, unemployment and the impact of Covid-19 on the lives of low-income families and we need to ensure this administration focuses on delivering what they promise.
“I think I’m hopeful to the extent we’ll be reversing many of the problematic policies that were put in place over the past 4 years. However, the question remains whether we’re going to progress forward beyond returning to the status quo. The Obama administration left many promises unkept and President Biden has an opportunity to fix that.” Arbazz. M Nizami. award-winning nonprofit marketer, social entrepreneur and community leader
We want policy, we want follow-through
“I am glad the evil man is out of the WH, and he will take his hate with him. Still, I have reservations about the new Pres and VP, I don’t fully trust federal level politicians, but I think they will be better for the US than Trump, in terms of kindness, the environment, tolerance, etc. I am glad there has been an awakening among us Americans about the racism in our country.
“It was shocking that two lynchings happened this year in California. I was brought up to believe California is a liberal, tolerant state. But now I know better so we will keep our eyes open to squash out the hate around the country. We can’t just laugh and ignore the South anymore.” Shireen Hakim, Award winning children’s author and Book Riot writer
“Equal agency in driving policy in this country — that’s what I would like to see, But I don’t know if we are there yet.” Sara Deen
“Trump losing is a great feeling that is only brought low by the fact that Biden won.” Dalecia Young
The main theme running through most comments from young people was the issue of America’s foreign policy and what would change once Biden would take over. With the UK being a key alley for the US, how did it bode for UK muslims? Trump’s far right affiliates had implications across Europe for Muslims.
“We also recognize that the President plays a major role in shaping foreign policy and we need to end our engagement with wars across the world. Biden has had enough time in the White House to make that happen and we need to keep the pressure on him.” Arbazz. M Nizami
“On a global scale, with regards to Palestine, etcetera, I’m not sure. I’m glad that Americans are aware that we have to stay aware and there is much to be done. They no longer think just because there is a Democrat in the WH everything will magically be ok.” Shireen Hakim
“The US elections do not hold much weight in the UK, unless you’re a Muslim. Trump’s continuous anti-Muslim rhetoric have caused a ripple effect resulting in the emboldenment of far-right political parties all over Europe. A good portion of Muslims felt unsafe walking in their cities, especially hijabis. Biden and Harris’ victory could be the glimmer of hope we all need and that is good news! Allah knows best.” Affi & Iman, from “Froth&Bubble” Podcast
Muslim Ban Reflections
The Washington Post reports, “The Muslim ban galvanized so many people,” said Dalia Mogahed, director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a Muslim research organization. “It gave them a concrete policy to rally around and point against. It has been a touchstone for a wider problem that sometimes people deny exist.”
“It’s not just about the election,” he said. “It’s about what’s going to happen next. What Trump says affects the whole community.” Yassin Terou, a Syriam refugee celebrating his first time voting in an American election after becoming a citizen earlier this year.
It’s been a tumultuous four years for Muslims in America. In an Instagram post, Abdel Rahman Murphy cautiously warned keyboard warriors to give Muslims a chance to just breathe a sigh of relief and recover from the trauma experienced during Trump’s reign. No one was under the illusion that even though Trump had lost the election, it was just first the step and that there was a mountain of work to get through in the coming four years.
Dr. Omar Suleiman found that a “Whatsapp Uncle” in his circle summed up the elections beautifully by saying: “Allah has decreed what he willed, He has done. And as Muslims we express contentment with God’s decree.” Then we continue moving and working forward