Islamic Society of East Bay Hosts Candidates’ Forum
By AbdusSattarGhazali


The Islamic Society of East Bay (ISEB) hosted a candidates’ forum on Friday, October 14, 2016.

The forum, sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations-CA, was attended by Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison who is seeking re-election. Lily Mei, the Vice Mayor of Fremont, is contesting for the Mayor’s position.

Other candidates seeking election of the Fremont City Council were: Raj Salwan, Kathy Kimberlin, Marty Froomin, Cullen Tiernan, Laurie Manuel and Vinnie Bacon. Raj Salwan is a former Council Member. Vinnie Bacon is seeking re-election. Aziz Akbari candidate for Alameda County Water District (ACWD), also attended the candidates’ forum.

The candidates explained what they will do for the betterment of Fremont people if they were elected. Many from the audience asked questions about their programs.

Sameena Usman, CAIR’s Government Relations Coordinator, was the moderator of the forum. CAIR-CA director Zahra Billoo was also present.  

The ISEB candidates’ forum was part of the CAIR-CA effort to motivate Muslim voters. It held a similar forum on Saturday, October 15, at Yaseen Burlingame Center, Burlingame while yet another forum is scheduled for October 22 at the Muslim Community Center of the East Bay Pleasanton.

In addition to these events CAIR staff and volunteers can be found registering voters at Friday prayers.

On September 26, the CAIR launched its own voter registration effort, in which participants pledged to register five people to vote.  “As citizens, it is our duty to educate ourselves about the civic process and to participate in that process,” CAIR National Communications Coordinator NabeelahNaeem  said in a statement. “Our diversity is what makes us stronger as a nation.”

As of June, more than 300,000 Muslims had registered to vote since 2012, according to CAIR. According to the group, there are currently 824,000 registered voters whose first, middle or last names match a list of more than 43,500 traditional Muslim names. 

Meanwhile, the US Council of Muslim Organizations, the largest coalition of local and national Muslim groups, is aiming to get one million Muslims to register to vote ahead of the November 8 election. 

Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric has spurred a sharp increase in the registration of Muslim voters. 

On October 13, CAIR released  results of a nationwide survey of Muslim voters in the upcoming presidential election which indicated a likely high turnout of Muslims at the polls on   November 8  – more than 70 percent say they will vote for Hillary Clinton. The survey also revealed concern of Muslim voters about issues such as civil rights, education, economy, bullying, proposed ban on Muslims entering the US, and national security.

Highlights of CAIR's survey results, announced at a  news conference at the civil right organization's Capitol Hill headquarters in Washington, DC, include:

* 86 percent of registered Muslim voters intend to vote in this year's presidential election.
* 12 percent of Muslim voters are still undecided about who to vote for.  
* 72 percent of Muslim voters said they will vote to elect Hillary Clinton, while 4 percent said they will vote for Donald Trump, 3 percent will vote for Jill Stein, and 2 percent for Gary Johnson.  
* The percentage of those Muslim voters who said they are closer to the Democratic Party remained constant, from 66 percent in a similar poll taken in 2012, to 67 percent today, after having increased from 49 percent in a similar poll taken in 2008.  
* Affiliation with the Republican Party remained relatively steady at 6 percent, 9 percent in 2012 and 8 percent in 2008.  
* 62 percent of respondents said that the Republican Party was unfriendly toward Muslims (compared to 51 percent in 2012), while 2 percent said that the Democratic Party was unfriendly (compared to 6 percent in 2012).



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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