2/17/2004 1:15:00 PM
To: National Desk, Political Reporter
WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A nationwide coalition of Islamic organizations today announced the formation of a task force designed to encourage community-based Muslim political participation and to defend against the erosion of civil liberties in a post-9/11 social environment.
The new group, called the "American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT)," will concentrate on helping Muslims become "full partners in the development and prosperity of our homeland," defending the civil rights of all Americans and developing alliances "on a wide variety of social, political, economic, and moral issues." SEE: http://www.americanmuslimvoter.net/
Task force organizers say they will put forward a "civil rights plus" agenda for the 2004 election cycle in which civil rights is the most important issue, but not the only issue. The AMT election plan states: "We remain equally committed to (the issues of) education, homelessness, economic recovery, environmental and ecological safety, electoral reform, crime, and global peace and justice."
"Our vote is the best guarantee of our civil rights and the best expression of our citizenship," said AMT Coordinator Agha Saeed. "We will mobilize American Muslim voters at the local, state and national levels, with a primary focus on those states and races that may have the most impact in the coming elections."
AMT co-sponsors have committed to organize voter education and registration drives, encourage Muslims to work in political campaigns, host candidates' town hall meetings, issue candidate scorecards on issues of importance to the Muslim community, and to form coalitions with like-minded groups.
2004 Election Plan
objectives, issues, strategies; sets forth a bottom-up, community-based
AMT 2004 Election Plan
The AMT 2004 Election Plan consists of seven (7) key elements: 1) objectives, 2) issues, 3) strategy, 4) community education and mobilization, 5) criteria-based feedback from the community 6) community-based decision-making process, and 7) tasks for individuals and organizations during Jan-Nov. 2004.
Our four main objectives are to: 1) become full partners in the defense, development and prosperity of our homeland, the United States, 2) defend civil and human rights of all, 3) mainstream the American Muslim community, and 4) develop alliances with like-minded fellow Americans on a wide variety of social, political, economic and moral issues.
In 2004 Election we will focus our efforts on a "Civil Rights Plus" agenda. By this we mean that ‘the civil rights for all’ is the main issue but not the only issue. We remain equally committed to education, homelessness, economic recovery, environmental and ecological safety, electoral reform, crime, and global peace and justice. Our ‘civil rights plus agenda’ is broadly organized under three categories: a) civil and human rights, b) domestic issues of public good and general welfare, c) global peace with justice, prevention of war, and US relations with the Muslim world.
Our overall strategy is premised on the belief that “Our vote is the best guarantee of our civil rights and the best expression of our citizenship”. The AMT will organize strategic mobilization of the American Muslim voters at local, state and federal levels, with primary focus on key states and key races.
Registration and Voter Education
Viewing elections as an opportunity for both self-empowerment and direct participation in discussions about all issues including America’s sense of direction and destiny, the AMT shall expend its maximum energy in educating, organizing and mobilizing the American Muslim voters.
The AMT has set up a system to get the American Muslim voters to provide feedback about candidates on the basis of the following criteria:
Position on Civil Rights and other key issues detailed above
1. Community Input - Each participating organization will be obliged to make a good faith effort to reach out to its own members to ensure their participation in the decision making process. Organizations will be free to seek such participation and policy input through opinion polls, questionnaires, community forums, town hall meetings, e-groups and other similar means. Each organization shall make a good faith effort to enable each of its members to have an equal say in the decision making process.
Input - The Taskforce shall make good faith effort to ensure that
each member organization will receive equal consideration during the
3. AMT Questionnaire for Presidential Candidates: The AMT will send a questionnaire to all presidential candidates to ascertain their position on issues of importance to Muslim Americans. The AMT will also ask each candidate for an exclusive meeting.
4. Candidate Research and Scorecard: In addition to the above questionnaire the AMT shall research presidential candidates and issue a scorecard to enable community members to make informed judgments about various candidates.
Tasks for individuals and organizations
We ask all community members and organizations to fulfill their obligations as informed voters and responsible citizens during this election year. Here is a list of tasks that your may want to perform individually and / or collectively: