Massachusetts Muslims Meet with Democratic Party

By Mario Moreira

On October 10, 2004, a number of American Muslims representing a wide variety of organizations came together in Woburn Massachusetts to hear Michael E. Festa, Democratic House of Representative for Melrose and Wakefield, MA and George Kivork, the National Director of Community Outreach for Kerry/Edwards.

The importance of this event was two-fold. It allowed the Democrats to have an opportunity to voice their respect for the Muslim way of life and recognize American Muslims as an important part of the American society. It also allowed the American Muslims to let the Democrats know that they are a growing number in the United States and the political system and they value the American way of life.

The groups in which the American Muslims are involved include various Democratic Town Committees, Democratic State Committee, Pakistani American Community Cultural Center, Pakistan Association of Greater Boston (PAGB), Masjid Al-Quran, Islamic Society of Greater Lowell, Islamic Center of Boston-Wayland, Pak-Millennium, Association of Pakistani Physicians of New England, Muslim American Society (MAS), American Muslim Empowerment (AME), and the Association for the Development of Pakistan.

Photo (L to R): Parwez Wahid, Michael E. Festa, Mushtaque Mirza, Hanif Butt

Representative Festa said that it was very important for the Democratic Party to reach out to the American Muslim community. He discussed “how the country will survive in the 21st century” and the importance of including American Muslims because of their unique perspective on the events in the last 3 years. He believes that they may be able to contribute to the solutions in moving forward. He stressed the importance that “every single vote will count” in this upcoming election and that he wants the American Muslims involved in this election.

The session ended with a discussion on what needs to be done to move forward as American Muslims in the political system. Topics addressed included: getting people registered to vote, getting people out to vote, getting involved in the local, state, or national political system and in action-oriented groups promoting peace and empowerment. There are many American Muslims in the United States and we can make a difference, but we need to get involved in the American political system. This point was forcefully stressed again and again.


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