‘Get your voices heard’: Campaign seeks to drive Canadian Muslims to vote

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Get Out The Vote initiative hopes to mobilize Muslim voters in Calgary to hit advance polls.

Hannah Kost · CBC News · Posted: Oct 12, 2019 11:44 AM MT | Last Updated: October 12

Ibrahim Jadalowen, a civic engagement coordinator with the Muslim Association of Canada, said the group is trying to raise awareness that Canadian Muslims can have a direct impact on 113 ridings across Canada in the upcoming federal election. (Mike Symington/CBC)

The Canadian-Muslim Vote (TCMV) launched its Muslim Vote Weekend campaign on Friday, and Calgary’s Al Salam Centre took part. 

Featuring “Get Out the Vote” civic engagements and sermons in more than 100 mosques across Canada, the campaign is a partnership with the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) with a goal to mobilize Muslim voters to hit advance polls.

Ibrahim Jadalowen, a civic engagement coordinator with MAC, said the campaign was created as a way to ensure that minority rights remain upheld and protected in a period of civic and political unrest.

“We are trying to raise awareness in the Muslim communities about the issues that are facing us [and] that are effecting us directly,” Jadalowen said.

“We have seen the rise of Islamophobia and white supremacy, and issues that affect us directly, so people are looking for ways and how we can make a change and improve our lives here in this country.”

TCMV, a non-partisan organization, was founded in 2015. On its website, it describes a mandate to “educate and empower the broader Muslim community to participate in the Canadian political process.”

Jadalowen said that MAC doesn’t endorse political parties.

“Every individual has to make their own decision about who to vote for and who can represent them better in parliament,” he said.

The Muslim Vote Weekend is an initiative to send Muslim Canadians to advance polls over the Thanksgiving weekend. (Mike Symington/CBC)

The objective, Jadalowen said, is to encourage Muslims to engage in the democratic process and “fulfil their civic duty” as Canadians.

“A lot of minorities think that their voices are not heard and their vote will not make a difference,” Jadalowen said.

“We are trying to raise awareness that this is not the process, that’s not how it is. We want people to know that their voices can be very effective and can have a positive effect in the country.”

Jadalowen said Muslims living in Canada have the same concerns as any resident, including those surrounding the economy, employment, the environment and foreign affairs. 

But as a minority population, he said it was especially important to work to preserve rights and improve community outcomes.

“I think we’re trying to focus on all types of people in our Muslim community – people who are born here, people who are not born here … a lot of them don’t give it a lot of attention because they think it’s not effective,” he said. “But we want to help them understand that this is how we make an effect in the politics of the country.”

With files from Mike Symington

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