The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the largest coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, held its 2016 2nd National Summit of American Muslim Leaders on Sunday August 7, 2016 at the Spring Hill Suites Marriott Hotel in Sterling, Virginia. More than 100 Muslim leaders from various states attended the event.
The meeting started with short introductions by the leaders of the founding member organizations. Then a report was presented on the current status of the One America Campaign. Finally, this year’s agenda was presented and three groups were formed to discuss the following three issues:
- Strategizing and responding to the increasing incidents of religious and racial violence and bigotry in the United States
- Creating and spreading our own positive narrative and refuting ISIS and Islamophobes narrative on Islam and American Muslims
- Cooperating and amplifying Muslims’ efforts for political empowerment during the 2016 election
The leadership summit emphasized the following three points for all Muslim leadership:
- Organize a National Muslim voter registration day on Eid ul Adha. All campaign material and instructions for it are available our website here.
- October 23 will be a National Open Mosque Day and all mosques are encouraged to participate.
- Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign should be organized by local Muslim leadership .
Following is a summary of the ideas that were presented by the three groups:
Strategizing and responding to the increasing incidents of religious and racial violence and bigotry in the United States
- Acknowledgment of the issue
- Need for data
- Engaging mosque to be in action platforms
- Resource center building
- Personal and community outreach for awareness and educating the people.
Creating and spreading our own positive narrative and refuting ISIS and Islamophobes narrative on Islam and American Muslims
- Highlighting positive stories about Muslims and their values (e.g. Muslim heroes). Proactive vs reactive.
- Publish unbiased research that exposes ISIS
- Educate, train, and involve the youth in all initiatives
- Fund USCMO
- Compile and publish database of resources and Muslim speakers that speak for mainstream Muslims
- Facilitate open discussions on grievances that feed extremism or resentment
Cooperating and amplifying Muslims’ efforts for political empowerment during the 2016 election
- Civil rights and liberties
- Religious and racial profiling, police reform, etc.
- Economic justice
- Free college tuition, unjust trade policies, national debt, etc.
- Foreign policy
- BDS, non-interventionist foreign policy, demilitarizing foreign aid, etc.
- Comprehension immigration reform and humane refugee policy
- Climate change
- Voter Registration
- Create an appropriate structure to implement One Million Voter Registration campaign
- Committee at central, state, and local levels
- Create a database of Muslim voters
- Education of the imams and masjid leaderships
- Sample khutbahs w/ talking points, one page points, response to those who say voting is haram, etc.
- Strategy to reach out to non-masjid going population
- Social media, advertise in Muslim businesses, cultural and religious events (like Muslim Family Day), etc.
- Partner up and work with other organizations that are doing voter registration campaigns
- Providing transportation for those who cannot go out to vote
- Swing State
- Emphasize and educate the importance of minority votes in swing states
- Focus on swing district races for congress in addition to the presidential
- Host a candidates forum sponsored by Muslim organizations
- Reallocate from non-swing states to swing states
- Set up meetings with the candidates and the State party leadership
- Use Muslim and other minority media to convey our platform
- Diversity in advertisements
- Using MSAs and other youth groups to get the Muslim youth involved in the political process
- Writing op-eds in mainstream media explaining and clarifying our platform