Civic Engagement Protects American Muslim Interests
MPAC has made every effort to represent the best interests of Muslims in America by collaborating and taking action with policymakers, interfaith allies, and the entertainment industry, says an MPAC announcement.
It adds: As a result of the rise of right wing populism, the form of civic engagement and political participation may change during the next four years.
Civic engagement means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political action. It means being active in society and building coalitions to better society by running for office, casting a vote, or meeting with lawmakers.
Civic engagement as a means to the ends of advancing justice is our organization’s central philosophy. Through this, we strive to represent Muslims and Islam in America. But civic engagement, empowerment, and advocacy are tools we use to ensure that the voices of American Muslims are heard in government, the media, and American society as a whole.
Engage to Make Change
As citizens of this nation, we have the responsibility to be involved in the political process. If we do not define our own self-interests collectively, then we leave ourselves vulnerable to being defined by others. By being actively involved in the decision-making process at all levels of governance, we strengthen our visibility and influence for the betterment of the larger society.
Fundamental Islamic principles compel us to speak out against injustices and promote good for the public: Prophet Muhammad informed his community that “the best of people are those who are most beneficial to people.” Prophet Moses participated in civic engagement when he met with the Pharaoh to demand his people’s freedom.
Our Terms, Our Values
Engaging with others is not the same as endorsing their views. Sometimes, we must meet with those with whom we disagree in order to offer them our perspective, share our values and provide recommendations.
Disengagement and withdrawing from the political process is not an option. As Congressman Keith Ellison is repeatedly quoted, “If you’re not at the table, then you’re on the menu.” Our activism and leadership provide us with leverage because of the relationships we create and maintain.
MPAC will continue its civic engagement efforts over the following years with policymakers, the entertainment industry, and interfaith partners. By consulting on TV shows and movies to present authentic portrayals about Muslims and collaborating with municipalities to offer sanctuary to undocumented individuals, we are ensuring that American Muslim voices are being heard - loud and clear.
Since 1988, civic engagement has been one of MPAC’s core competencies. We will continue to engage. The proof of its effectiveness will be determined by taking our community and society to a better place than we are in today, to persevere through adversity, and to advocate for shared values of all Americans--freedom, justice and human dignity.