Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Introducing Project O

With a steady growth in the American-Muslim population, the Chicago metropolitan area being home to an estimated 400,000 Muslim alone, a need for organized Muslim political involvement is becoming glaringly obvious. Enclaves of Muslim constituents residing within certain districts have never been brought together to form one unified body proving to be damaging to the Chicagoland Muslim community. There is no official count on the total number of Muslims in Illinois; the total number of eligible voters; the total number of registered Muslim voters; and the total number of unregistered but eligible voters.

A formal and organized structure that encourages professional activism within the community has become necessary to bring forward a strong, unified Muslim voice. The end result of such mobilization is to create a strong foundation that reaches out to local and national political leaders and enables CAIR to work with a proactive agenda. A proactive agenda puts the Muslim community in a unique position where concerns between the community and representatives are addressed without a third party. CAIR, as a grassroots civil rights organization, is able to work toward establishing the relationship between leadership and their constituencies. If the Muslim community becomes a visible population that participates regularly in the political process, it will be in a position to set its own agenda, on its own terms. Political campaigns and election participation become some of the elements that resolve the disconnect between policy makers and their Muslim constituency.

This pilot project called Project O, aims to organize, mobilize and empower the Muslim community. It seeks to lay the foundation for grassroots mobilization where the Muslim community can come together and create a proactive agenda, for itself. It will organize the scattered enclaves into one unified body and mobilize around local, state, and national level issues. It will empower the community through political action and civic engagement, while conveying the message that political mobilization goes beyond election day results.


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