Massachusetts Muslims Meet Democratic Party Candidates
By Mario Moreira

From left: Mario Moreira, Tom Conroy, Parwez Wahid and Gerry Leone

On September 17, 2006, two Democratic Party candidates, Gerry Leone and Tom Conroy, visited the Islamic Center of Boston (ICB)–Wayland to enlighten community members on "Community Outreach and Civic Participation".
Parwez Wahid, a member of the ICB who is actively involved in state and regional politics, coordinated the event. He is keen that American Muslims should engage in the political process and thus gain empowerment. About 50 members of the ICB-Wayland community attended the function to hear the Democratic party candidates.
The session started with Parwez introducing the candidates and each candidate providing an overview of his platform and position.
Gerry Leone is a candidate for Middlesex County District Attorney. We learned of his active role at the county level. The good news is that due to his impressive record, he is running unopposed in the November elections and will become the DA in January. He is a former prosecutor and attorney. He has experience of conducting major criminal investigations and prosecuting cases at the highest level. He has spent his career in directing investigations and prosecuting major cases in the Superior Court and enjoys the distinction of securing the first US conviction of al Qaeda terrorist 'Shoebomber' Richard Reid. He believes in attacking the root causes of crime before they have a chance to take hold. An example of this approach is his work in schools where he goes every week and gives kids the right tools and support to turn away from crime.
Tom Conroy is candidate for State Representative for the 13th Middlesex District. He faces a difficult contest in November against the incumbent. Tom used to work in the State Department and was on the staff of two US Senators. His district includes the area of Lincoln, Sudbury, and Wayland Massachusetts, where his goals are: preserving the great schools, making smart choices about the environment, improving public works infrastructure, balancing commercial growth with semi-rural character, and preventing the seemingly unavoidable annual increase in property taxes. Tom believes strongly in civil rights and ensuring that members of all races and faiths are treated with fairness and respect.
The objective of this session was two-fold: to allow 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. The session also allowed the American Muslims to let the Democrats know that they are a growing number in the United States and they value the American way of life and the country’s political system.
The session ended with a Q&A round in which the American Muslims posed questions and heard the candidates’ views on civil rights and security issues. Gerry Leone seemed committed to ensure that our community felt safe while Tom Conroy focused more on ensuring that our civil rights remained intact.
Mario Moreira, ICB Member at Large, concluded the session thanking Parwez Walid for helping the American Muslim community in gaining political awareness. He also thanked Gerry Leone and Tom Conroy for their time and involvement in the community and wished them luck in the upcoming Democratic contests. Mario concluded the session by urging the audience to vote in the upcoming Massachusetts primary and the mid-term elections on November 7, 2006.
There are many American Muslims in the United States who can make a difference, but they need to get involved in the American political system to ensure that they are treated fairly and with respect.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.