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Mosques Encourage Vote as Part of Last Pitch to Midterm Voters

Mosques in the Midwest U.S. state of Minnesota are urging worshipers and people of color to vote in Tuesday's midterm election.

In the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis, Sheikh Abdirahman Sharif, the imam of Dar Al-Hijra Islamic center, focused his Friday sermon on voting.

“The topic was encouraging people to vote and also to understand, especially the people of color, the Somalis and East Africans to know and understand the long history of the barrel of voting rights and my topic was today the importance of voting,” he explained.

Getting out the vote

Sharif is among faith leaders in Minnesota who are using sermons to get people to the polls. He said emphasizing voting participation fits with the general concept of the mosques.

Sharif told his congregation voting is the only way to make a change and to be heard, “This time of our American history is a lot of division and hate among the country, especially the politics. In order for the Muslim community, the people of color and east Africans to be part and participant in that, they have to vote if they want change the system.”

First time voters, candidates

The mosque’s encouragement led some worshipers for midday prayer to go to a local polling center and vote early. Khalid Mohamed Hassan was among dozens of Somalis who voted for the first time in his life.

“It is my first time to vote. I want to vote for Muslim candidates and for the healthcare related issues,” Hassan said.

Among the Muslim candidates in Minnesota is Mohamud Noor, who is seeking a seat in the state's legislature. Noor stood outside the mosque as he appealed to those walking by to vote. He said the aim of him seeking a public office is to have people who can fight for the community and against the immigration policies of the current administration.

"In order to win the House on the national level, we in Minnesota have the responsibility to make sure that we vote for people for who are going to fight for us, and to make make sure they can defend us against the things that are happening, the Islamophobic, the anti-immigrants, so many things that we have been challenged with that coming from the current administration. So we need to have a house that protects the rights of the people of this state, and also the nation. So for that matter, we need to wake up, we need to make sure everybody votes”

In 2016, most of all the Somalis living in this Midwest state voted against now- President Donald Trump, and in this election cycle the community says the stakes are high and their energy and motivation could help Democrats at local and national polls.

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