Attending the DNC Was the First Step, Now It’s Time to Get to Work

Last week, I had the rare opportunity to be selected as the American Muslim representative to speak on a couple of panels at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, NC.

On the first panel, I addressed the issue of pluralism and the role of government vis-à-vis faith communities, and on the second panel I spoke about public policy and the role of communities in addressing health care, immigration and public service.

The DNC took an important first step this year by addressing faith-based issues and engaging faith-based and coalition groups; now, it is our job to take the next step to work together to ensure that both parties talk about issues impacting our community.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council seeks to be a resource about Islam and American Muslims to government, policy-makers, media outlets and interfaith and civic leaders. Over the past 20 years, we have worked to ensure that a more accurate understanding of our faith and community becomes part of the public discourse. At MPAC we seek to change hearts and minds about our community; we seek to unveil the shackles of ignorance that exist due to Islamphobia and hate. It is imperative for us as faith leaders to have our voices heard at all levels of our nation’s civic and political processes, making our voice for justice in this election season crucial. Whether it is at the local, state or national level, we, American Muslims, must work with all political parties, candidates and communities.

In a few days, MPAC will be launching its national election campaign -- “My Faith, My Vote, My Future” -- to inform and mobilize the American Muslim community to get involved in the electoral process. We will be holding forums, analyzing issues and mobilizing community involvement. I know that my participation at the DNC was a special event, and not all of us may have the chance to experience a political convention.

I say this only because attending the DNC is just a small step down the long road of the election season. I heard amazing speeches from amazing leaders; however, the thought that kept going through my mind was that it is time for us to get active. Both the Republican and Democratic national conventions should have motivated us to tackle the issues and hold leaders responsible for their words and actions. We will not be sidelined. Join MPAC’s national election campaign and help your community have its voice heard. Contact Hoda Elshishtawy, MPAC’s Legislative and Policy Analyst at or 202.547.7701.

Thank you for your continued support.

Haris Tarin

Director of MPAC’s Washington DC, Office



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