Major Community Organization Campaign Launched
By Hazem Kira

Dr. Agha Saeed

New York: The American Muslim Alliance (AMA), a national civic education organization with 101 chapters, has recently opened a new office in New York, which will help coordinate its activities in northeastern states, particularly in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
The AMA- New York is located at 36-01, 37 Avenue, Long Island City, Queens. The centrally located AMA-NY office, 10 minutes drive from Manhattan, has already become a hub for local political activities such as town hall meetings, press conferences, coalitional politics, and candidates’ forums.
The AMA-NY office was inaugurated by it national Chair Dr. Agha Saeed. “The aim for the AMA”, he said, is to strategically mobilize the American Muslim voters at the local, state and federal levels, with primary focus on key races in congressional and council districts. We must bring about the widest possible sharing of political knowledge, skills acquisition, resources, and build a nationwide network of contacts.”
The newly opened office has been tasked with setting up a major precinct-by-precinct GET-OUT-TO-VOTE community outreach and mobilization network. Accomplishing this goal could make 800, 000 New York Muslims a noteworthy constituency in the upcoming mayoral election scheduled for Nov 2005, political observers believe.
Speaking at the inauguration of the AMA New York Office, Shafqat Chaudhary, President AMA-NY said: “The opening of this office will allow the community to develop a political infrastructure at the district, county, and state level. Only by physically being on the ground, can we maximize our potential, and bring forward any substantive change.” The AMA-New York office will enable us, he said, “to participate in political campaigns and coordinate with other Muslim organizations to promote American Muslim objectives of Muslim self-empowerment.”
The AMA has hired veteran Pakistani-American journalist and columnist Mr. Afzal Mohsin as the Executive Director for its New York Office. Mr. Mohsin comes to AMA with thirty years of media experience.
The new Executive Director will be responsible for a number of activities which include ensuring regular two-way communication with the AMA members, the Muslim community and the mainstream press; writing regular event reports for the media, issuing press releases; publishing a quarterly e-newsletter; organizing civic education and leadership training programs in the tri-state area; organizing and conducting monthly, quarterly, special and annual meetings; and setting up a city/statewide election machine. Mr. Mohsin will also represent AMA-NY at various mainstream meetings and conferences.
For over ten years, the AMA has been dedicated to educating, organizing and mobilizing American Muslims in the political process. During the 2004 presidential election, the AMA-National had conducted seven town hall meetings just in New York.
These meetings are primarily designed to provide civic education and to help build citizen efficacy through skills acquisition and capacity formation as well as to seek direct input from community members and activists for policy decision regarding the overall American Muslim goals and strategies.
The AMA has recently decided to expand the scope of its town hall meetings by informing and engaging the Muslim community about the neocon agenda with the aim to defeat it and prevent the neocons from dividing the Muslim community by provoking internal conflicts.
In the next six months the AMA-NY office will focus on getting Muslim New Yorkers registered to vote, meet and negotiate with mayoral and city council candidates, volunteer for various political campaigns, and get-out-to-vote in large numbers.
“One of our goals is to create a Muslim bloc vote at the city level and connect it with a set of clearly-defined goals,” Imam Baqi, Vice President of AMA-New York chapter, said. “We will support those candidates who support civil rights and inclusion for all.”

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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