Editor’s Note: Mr. Dennis Kucinich, external links, or the author’s viewpoints.
Muslims in America have been in a state of siege and it seems to be getting worse rather than better. Increasing numbers of Americans have negative views of Islam . Much of the blame for this has to lie with the Bush Administration and its “war on terrorism”. Not only do policies such as the Patriot Act, round-ups and detentions of Muslim immigrants, and over-hyped arrests of “sleeper cells” damage those Muslims caught up in them, these policies also create a sense for Americans that Muslims are aliens, enemies within.
None of what I’ve said so far should be news to anybody. We all know it and despair over it. We wonder if there’s anything we can do to stop it or to change it. The good news is, there is something that we can do as Muslims in America. That something is to vote.
But wait! Isn’t voting haram? Doesn’t it mean supporting a kufr system? Muslims who seek to become politically active will hear this one a lot. So let’s deal with it head on. Shaykh Muhammad al-Munajjid, a very conservative Saudi scholar, was asked about voting in elections in a non-Muslim country . As a member of Congress, he will be introducing legislation in September to start rolling it back.
Dennis Kucinich is also the most vocal opponent of the Iraq war among the Democratic candidates. He first began speaking against it in July 2002. He mobilized 126 Democrats in the House of Representatives to vote against the use of force authorization. He marched in the antiwar rally on February 15. He continues to call for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq . He is the only one of the Democratic candidates to hold this view.
A Kucinich presidency would be a great change for the better for Muslims in America, and even for Muslims abroad. No, he isn’t perfect. His views on social issues are more liberal than the views of most Muslims. But I think that the benefit he can bring greatly outweighs any harm. And we are going to face that problem with any Democratic candidate, without getting as much benefit.
If we want to see Dennis Kucinich as the Democratic candidate for President in 2004, we have to start supporting him now. Speaking up for him in our communities and convincing people to vote for him in the primary elections. Giving our time, efforts, and money to his campaign. It’s a big commitment and it means more involvement with the American political process than some Muslims may be comfortable with.
This is a decision each of us must make for ourselves. What is the harm if we act, and what is the harm if we don’t act? What is the course of action that will bring the greatest benefit to Muslims and is it worth the price?
I sincerely believe that Dennis Kucinich can help the umma if he is elected president. He may not be in the end. But I don’t want to look back and say “if only I had spoken up, he might have been.”