Muslim Americans are energized about voting in this year’s election in unprecedented ways, thanks in large part to extensive get-out-the-vote outreach launched throughout their communities and at mosques, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Robert McCaw, CAIR’s government affairs department manager, told NBC News Tuesday afternoon that, the Muslim community has been hard at work for the last two years, ensuring every Muslim American eligible to vote is registered, and that they cast ballots on Election Day.
“It’s unprecedented how mosques are organizing around this election, and really it’s a great thing to see,” McCaw said.
One reason for the heightened interest, voter outreach workers say, is that some of the rhetoric surrounding this year’s presidential race, including Republican nominee Donald Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
Nearly 91 percent of registered Muslim voters said the ban was the wrong decision, according to a CAIR survey released in October.
As a result of rhetorical attacks on the Muslim community, more than 300,000 Muslims may have registered to vote since 2012, CAIR said in astatement in June. Around 3.3 million Muslims lived in the U.S. in 2015,according to Pew Research.
For Election Day, McCaw said mosques have been doing their part to mobilize Muslim-American voters. In northern Virginia, for example, cab drivers who are members of the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque have been driving others from their congregation to polling sites for free, McCaw said.
Phone banks have also proven successful in reminding people to vote, McCaw said. This past weekend, one woman he reached said she’d been contacted multiple times from multiple organizations, which also included receiving an email from her mosque, he said. The phone call ended with the woman promising to vote, McCaw said.
CAIR, a nonpartisan nonprofit, also enlisted Gold Star father Khizr Khan, a Muslim American, to record a get-out-the-vote phone message, urging more than 400,000 registered Muslim voters to head to the polls on Tuesday, according to the organization. Khan, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention in July, lost his son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, in 2004 when he was killed while serving in Iraq.
“This is a first that we’re inundating the average Muslim American with reminders to get out the vote,” McCaw said.