With their votes already cast during early voting, Ashma Khanani-Moosa and Christian Bui are taking no chances in this year’s presidential election. They said other Muslims should follow suit.
Houstonian Khanani-Moosa is a registered nurse who works alongside her physician husband in private practice. She also serves as a board member for the Clear Lake Islamic Center, which for the first time served as a polling location this year.
She is a Joe Biden supporter and said too much is at stake in the race for anyone, especially Muslims, not to make their voice heard.
“There are days when I feel like it’s going to be a tight race, and I feel like Biden is going to win. Then there are other days when I listen to the news, and I can only hope we’re not going to have another four years of a nightmare,” she told AboutIslam.net.
Bui, who also works in the Houston medical industry as a nurse practitioner, has been a regular voter for years. She agreed that another term under Pres. Donald Trump would be a hard pill to swallow but was pragmatic in how she’d react if he’s reelected.
“I’m feeling anxious and I’m worried about what the results will be, and thinking about another four years (under Trump) just gives me a headache,” she said. “But at the same time, I know that if he wins I’ll just go about my life.”
Nevertheless, her pragmatism hasn’t stopped her from speaking out about why political engagement and voting is important for Muslims.
“It’s important for everyone’s voice to be heard and counted, especially Muslims, because there’s been so much anti-Muslims talk (from Trump)” Bui said.
However, although she historically votes straight-party Democrat, she encouraged those who lean in the other direction to exercise their rights, do their civic duty and cast a ballot.
“Voting can be a burden, but you can drive-through (vote) or mail-in vote now,” she said. “There’s no reason not to do it.”
She continued, “You can’t judge anybody for what they believe, no matter who they vote for. You just need to get yourself out to vote, get in the practice of it.”
Khanani-Moosa said she’s particularly encouraged by what she sees as increased political engagement from her Muslim sisters, many of whom cast their first-ever vote in this year’s presidential election.
Perhaps helping those ladies along is the Muslim community’s hands-on participation in this election, with many Houston-area mosques and Muslim-led community centers serving as polling locations. Khanani-Moosa said being able to vote in these places lends a level of comfort to many women.
“The community has really responded (to voting), women especially, and they’re really encouraging their friends and families to come out and vote,” she said. “Women are going to make a huge difference this year.”
Still, Khanani-Moosa said she wished this enthusiasm had been present four years ago when Trump was first elected. As to why it wasn’t, she said maybe people were afraid to stand up for themselves and counter the negative image some news portrays about Muslims.
This year, however, she senses people have finally become tired of being perceived as radical or something they’re not, and are finally ready to do something about it.
What’s more, as tax-paying, contributing members of society, Khanani-Moosa said Muslims have the right to speak out when they are negatively portrayed to their neighbors and others.
“Our faith teaches us that if we speak the truth we should not be afraid,” she said. “I think our eyes have finally been opened and for those who didn’t vote they’re now realizing the importance of it and what a change it can make, otherwise we’re going to sink.”