From early hours in a grey winter day, Muslim have trooped out to the polling stations to cast their votes and participate in shaping the future of the UK and Brexit after months of parliamentary deadlock.
“I voted Labour. Out of all the candidates, Jeremy Corbyn is the one that I relate to and like the most,” Aicha Daidai, 28, told Al-Jazeera.
“He stands for peace rather than hatred and separation, while as a Muslim woman, I don’t like what Johnson has said about Muslims … He more spreads hatred and separation rather than uniting and keeping us together as a nation.”
The election called by the Conservative government in September will be the third parliamentary election in four years and the fourth poll in the same period of time if the 2016 EU referendum is counted.
The polls opened at 7 am local time (0700GMT) and will close at 10 pm (2200GMT). Exit polls can be expected as soon as the polling ends, but the final result could be declared as late as Friday evening.
There are more than 3 million newly registered voters who will go to the polls today. Two-thirds of those are under 35, and one-third are under 25. Younger voters are expected to make an impact on the election outcome.
Meanwhile, a leading British Muslim group urged Muslim voters to participate today, anticipating the highest ever Muslim voter turnout.
“We have been one of the leading voices for Muslims’ concerns this election,” Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said in a statement released Thursday.
“This has ranged from driving the first ever National Muslim Voter Registration Day, to identifying the marginal constituencies where Muslims have the biggest role to play, to challenging both the political and media class on Islamophobia. Muslim concerns are simply too significant to be ignored.
“The result is that this election is predicted to have the highest Muslim turnout in history.”
The country’s leading British Muslim representative body has reiterated that British Muslims have a civic and religious duty to vote in the 2019 UK General Election.
The MCB has worked with local partners and affiliates across the UK to mobilize the vote of Muslim communities, many of which have a crucial role in the election.
Recent research and data have shown that the Muslim electorate can swing the capital’s Kensington and Putney seats, along with 29 others across the UK.
Although non-partisan, the MCB has been vocal throughout the election campaign in calling for a full inquiry into the Conservative Party’s Islamophobia problem, and challenging broadcasters including the BBC to cover it proportionately.