Vote Now…or Forever Hold Your Peace

by Ann O’Brien Ahmad

ASAK. The U.S. presidential election is now behind us, with preliminary reports indicating that the number of people voting in this election was similar to, or maybe a little lower than, the 2008 election. In the 2008 election, 64% of voting age citizens voted. That doesn’t seem like a very high percentage, but when you consider that a person has to register to vote, physically go to a voting precinct, wait in line, and then read and fill out a complicated ballot, 64% seems pretty impressive.

How do the IAGD Board of Directors’ elections compare? For the past few years, approximately 55% to 60% of the membership actually votes. That seems pretty low, especially considering that the ballots are mailed to our homes, we only have to select three individuals for the Board, and we are given an envelope with a stamp to return the ballot. Not a whole lot of effort is required, yet close to half the membership doesn’t even bother to vote.

Why is that? While the Board of Directors’ election will not impact our personal freedoms or financial lives like the presidential election does, it can still have a significant impact on our personal lives. Is it because we don’t know who to vote for? Is it because we don’t understand the issues facing IAGD or where the candidates stand on those issues? Or is it because we don’t think our vote will make a difference?

Voting is more than a right; it is our duty. As members of IAGD, we have a duty to understand the issues and determine where each candidate stands regarding those issues. We have a duty to vote for the people we want to lead our organization. And this year, I believe the election is more important than usual. The issues are more prominent and the differences between the candidates more pronounced.

In a nutshell, the issue is: Do we want the status quo or do we want change? As a community, do we want to have more say in major decisions at IAGD or do we want others to make those decisions for us? Do we want to be active participants in the future of IAGD or do we just want to complain later about the decisions others made for us?

We have an obligation to investigate the candidates, find out where they stand on crucial issues, and make an educated decision about who to vote for. In my opinion, these are questions that should be answered by the individual candidates:

  • Where do you stand on the expansion project?
  • How much do you think should be spent on the expansion project?
  • What are your views about turning the masjid area into a social hall?
  • How important is the Islamic school?
  • Do you think it is appropriate to obtain a loan for the expansion?
  • How would you have handled the petition signed by 400 community members?
  • How would you involve the community more in the organization?
  • How would you increase transparency in the organization?
  • What other issues do you think are important for the Board to address in the near term?

Fasahat Hamzavi, Wajahat Khan, and Asim Shuttari have answered most of those questions on the Rekindling IAGD website (www.rekindlingiagd.com). If you still have questions about their position on any of the issues, their personal e-mail addresses can be found on the Rekindling IAGD website in the candidates’ bio section.

I believe the community is at a crossroad. We can vote for Fasahat, Wajahat, and Asim so that together, they can help ensure that IAGD is run as a religious organization that cares about the community, working on issues that are important to the community. Or we can continue with the status quo. Personally, I voted for Fasahat, Wajahat, and Asim, because I want IAGD to be an organization that I am proud to be a part of.

But whether you agree with me or not about voting for these three candidates, you should still vote. Your ballots need to be postmarked by November 24, but don’t wait, mail your ballots right away.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Stalwart 1 on November 16, 2012 at 8:19 am

    People should think… its now or never . It’s hard to raise awareness in our community that it is not the matter of who is related to whom and who is acquainted to whom.It is the matter of principle .A religious non profit organization should be taking decisions according to religious teachings and not thewill and wish of its administrators. Secondly they should be spending the money and resources for the welfare and betterment of the community .
    People , from our community ,who don’t have insurance or enough monetary resources use facilities provided by churches and Salvation Army .Don’t you think we should work on these instead of constructing a mausoleum .
    Prophet Mohammed (SAW) provided space ,by masjid e Nabawi , to Hazrat Rufaidah ( the first nurse in history ) to provide medical assistance .Ashab- e – Suffa were learning about DEEN over there.Education and welfare were practiced side by side . They didn’t spend their resources to construct a masjid with a more firm and bigger structure because that was enough for the people of near by area instead other mosques were developed so that they should be closer to people and it would be easier for them to come to the MASAJID frequently . At that time prophet didn’t concentrate on building a bigger masjid so that large number of people ,from far away places should come to it. And for EID prayers it was recommended by him(SAW) to go and try to pray at a place where others can see Muslims in bigger numbers . We can practice this sunnah of prophet by planning EID salahs ,with other communities ,at places like Cobo hall.In the sub- continent we use to have EID GAH( a larger ground than masjid ) and people from nearby areas use to gather their for EID salahs instead of gathering in the masjid closer to their homes.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Tabassum on November 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Just wondering how these candidates are making contact with community members for their votes.

    Reply

  3. Posted by A mullah on November 19, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I am seeing the blog and the website and then got the card with the names of the candidates .Also attended the dinner where all the candidates ( except br Anwarullah)spoke to the community .People are talking about them in the masjid . Above all got the ballot with the introduction of all the candidates .Didn’t you get a chance to get in touch with any of these???

    Reply

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