AMT Presents 2006 Election
Strategy at ISNA Convention
By Hazem Kira
AMT BOARD MEMBERS [L to R]: Imam
El-Hajj Talib Abdur Rasheed, Imam Mehdi Bray, Dr. Ahmed
Al-Akras and Dr. Agha Saeed
Convention Center: The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil
Rights and Elections (AMT), a national coalition of major
American Muslim organization, presented a unified election
agenda for 2006. AMT Chair, Dr. Agha Saeed, along with Imam
Medhi Bray and Corey Saylor presented the following action
plan to the audience for their input, deliberation and action.
AMT Election Plan
The AMT Election Plan consists of seven key elements: 1) objectives,
2) issues, 3) strategy, 4) community education and mobilization,
5) criteria-based feedback from the community, 6) community-based
decision-making process, and 7) tasks for individuals and
organizations during Sept-Nov. 2006.
Our four main objectives are to: 1) become full partners in
the defense, development and prosperity of our homeland, the
United States, 2) defend civil and human rights of all, 3)
mainstream the American Muslim community, and 4) develop alliances
with like-minded fellow Americans on a wide variety of social,
political, economic and moral issues.
Election efforts will focus on a "Civil Rights Plus"
agenda. By this we mean that ‘the civil rights for all’
is the main issue but not the only issue. We remain equally
committed to education, homelessness, economic recovery, environmental
and ecological safety, electoral reform, crime, and global
peace and justice. Our ‘civil rights plus agenda’
is broadly organized under three categories: a) civil and
human rights, b) domestic issues of public good and general
welfare, c) global peace with justice, prevention of war,
and US relations with the Muslim world.
Our overall strategy is premised on the belief that “Our
vote is the best guarantee of our civil rights and the best
expression of our citizenship”. The AMT will organize
strategic mobilization of the American Muslim voters at local,
state and federal levels, with primary focus on key states
and key races.
Voter Registration and Voter Education Viewing elections as
an opportunity for both self-empowerment and direct participation
in discussions about all issues including America’s
sense of direction and destiny, the AMT shall expend its maximum
energy in educating, organizing and mobilizing the American
Criteria-based feedback from the community
The AMT has set up a system to get the American Muslim voters
to provide feedback about candidates on the basis of the following
1. Position on Civil Rights and other key issues detailed
2. Performance Record
Community-based Decision Making Process
1. Community input - Each participating organization will
be obliged to make a good faith effort to reach out to its
own members to ensure their participation in the decision
making process. Organizations will be free to seek such participation
and policy input through opinion polls, questionnaires, community
forums, town hall meetings, e-groups and other similar means.
Each organization shall make a good faith effort to enable
each of its members to have an equal say in the decision making
2. Organizational input - The Taskforce shall make good faith
effort to ensure that each member organization will receive
equal consideration during the decision-making process.
3. AMT Questionnaire for Federal Candidates: The AMT will
send a questionnaire to all presidential candidates to ascertain
their position on issues of importance to Muslim Americans.
The AMT will also ask each candidate for an exclusive meeting.
4. Candidate Research and Scorecard: In addition to the above
questionnaire the AMT shall research presidential candidates
and issue a scorecard to enable community members to make
informed judgments about various candidates.
Tasks for individuals and organizations
We ask all community members and organizations to fulfill
their obligations as informed voters and responsible citizens
during this election year. Here is a list of tasks that your
may want to perform individually and / or collectively:
1. Register to vote
2. Work in an election campaign of your choice – inform
the campaign about your community’s concerns; inform
the community about the campaign.
Attend town hall meetings — engage the candidate in
a meaningful discussion of the Civil Rights Plus Agenda.
5.Set up a civic education program to educate your community
about the American Political System.
6. Organize a candidates’ forum and enable your community
to have a direct dialogue with the candidate. (Identify and
engage at least one elected official in issue of concern to
yourself and your community.)
7. Organize absentee ballots for the least likely-to-vote
sections of the community.
8. Research and compare candidates from your district and
issue scorecards for the convenience of your community.
9. Organize a get-out-to-vote team in your district/neighborhood.
10. Inform community members of important meetings and events.
11. Build local coalitions with like-minded individuals and
organizations to promote the ‘Civil Rights Plus Agenda’.
12. Maintain effective and visible presence in all local forums.
The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections
(AMT), includes: American Muslim Alliance (AMA), Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North
America (ICNA), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Muslim
Alliance of North America (MANA), Muslim American Society
(MAS), Muslim Student Association – National (MSA-N),
Muslim Ummah of North America [MUNA], Project Islamic Hope
(PIH), and United Muslims of America (UMA).