Two weeks before the December 12 general elections, British Muslim groups are racing time to make sure their communities will cast their ballots, TRT World reported.
“We have been reminding people they will need to vote for a person who will represent their views on important issues that will impact on themselves as well as their friends and family,” Shamiul Joarder, who is the head of public affairs at rights group Friends of Al Aqsa, told TRT World.
“Issues like healthcare, challenging Islamophobia and racism, education fees, accountable policing and a just foreign policy on Palestine, Kashmir, the Uyghurs, and Rohingya will all be influenced by their participation,” Joarder added.
Same as other groups, Joarder is helping to mobilize the British Muslim vote on issues, such as how politicians aim to tackle problems like anti-Muslim hatred and other forms of racism, as well as their stance on issues affecting Muslims internationally.
Though Muslims represent a huge 2.6 million population, they are far from being a monolithic voter block.
Yet, their impact could be massive as Muslim communities make up a significant proportion of the population in 40 out of 50 closely contested constituencies.
Using the slogan “#TakeThePower” Joarder and his team have been present outside mosques and in town centers with iPads in hand to get people to register to vote.
Thanks to Joarder’s activists along with others like them, more than 300,000 people registered to vote on November 22 or ‘National Voter Registration Day’.
Making Voices Heard
The new campaigns want to change the status quo, where minority groups, such as Muslims, were not fully exercising their electoral potential.
“Over one million potential voters from the BAME (Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic) community did not vote in the last general election,” Joarder said.
“Current data suggest only 66 percent of 18 and 19-year-olds are registered to vote compared to over 94 percent of over 65s and only one in four Asian and black people are registered to vote.”
Young people were also encouraged to make their voices heard and avoid passing the responsibility for the decisions that affect their lives to those who may not have their best interests at heart.
“For my generation, it is the decisions that are made today that will affect the rest of our lives, and so it falls on us to engage and make sure our politicians hear our views and voice our concerns,” student Yasmine told TRT World.
“Our individual votes do make a difference and my aim was to make sure we all know the importance of taking part in this general election.
“This will be the most important general election in decades and we need to ensure everyone is ready to cast their vote.”
As the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) released a list of 31 constituencies where Muslim voters could swing seats, pushing for a nationwide voter registration drive, three leading British Muslim organizations, earlier this month, also urged Muslims to vote in the upcoming general election to make their voices heard and exercise their civil obligations to fully engage in the society.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), MEND (Muslim Engagement & Development), and Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK) believe that Muslims have the power to decide the next government.