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Mosques Used As Voting Places For First Time Ever In Iowa Caucuses


History was made last night in more ways than one.

First, we had Trump’s historic victory.

Next, we had the collossal mess with the Democrats.

Do we even know who won yet?

I don’t know!

But the other moment of history was mosques being used as voting places in the Caucuses last evening — for the first time ever in the Iowa Caucuses.

Take a look:

The Business Insider reported on the historic event:

For the first time ever, mosques were approved to be used as caucus sites in Iowa for the first Democratic primary contest on Monday. 

In an effort to increase participation amid an era of increased Islamophobia in the US, the Iowa Democratic party approved five mosques in the Des Moines area as official satellite caucus locations, Al Jazeera reported. Muslims make up roughly 1% of adults among the nearly 3.2 million people who live in Iowa. 

Members of Congress who endorsed and have been campaigning for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, including Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ro Khanna of California, have visited the sites.

Omar, one of the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress in US history, visited the Muslim Community Organization in Des Moines, Iowa, after prayers on Friday. 

"It's not about somebody else. This election cycle is about us. This election cycle is about your daughters who are in schools who are dealing with xenophobia, with racism, with Islamophobia," Omar said to members of the community, urging them to participate on Monday, Middle East Eye reported

Khanna, who is one of Sanders' campaign co-chairs, took photos with Muslim women who were reportedly caucusing for Sanders in Iowa on Monday. 

Ako Abdul-Samad, the only Muslim state lawmaker in Iowa, told Al Jazeera "it's historical" to see mosques used as caucus sites. 

"I think now that Muslims are coming out because we are now realising that if we don't tell our story, nobody else will," Abdul-Samad said.

And from the Huff Post:

Aws Saeed, 21, was among a handful of Andrew Yang supporters at the Muslim Community Organization (MCO) in a northwest Des Moines suburb that served as a satellite caucus site for Monday’s voting in the Democratic presidential race.

A large Bernie Sanders poster hung outside the mosque gate where individuals entered. Once participants reached the door, they removed their shoes before entering the prayer space where an imam melodiously made the call to prayer. 

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A student at Iowa State University, Saeed prayed shoulder to shoulder with the group. But once the caucus began, he was quickly found himself separated from most of the congregation. He sat on a blue and gold rug nestled in a small corner of this two-story mosque along with three other Yang supporters ― a rarity among at least 100 Sanders backers.

Saeed attempted to persuade the other caucus-goers to join his corner by touting Yang’s universal basic income plan. Ultimately, he was unsuccessful.

Nonetheless, Saeed still sported a huge grin. Regardless of the outcome, he said he was thrilled to be at his local mosque, representing his political views as an Iowan — and an American Muslim.

For decades, Iowans have gathered in small groups to set the tone through their caucuses for the rest of the presidential election. On Monday, that included 1,678 locations ― school gyms, churches, and libraries that had been transformed into caucus locations. For the first time, it also included mosques as part of the democratic process.

For American Muslims, the 2020 elections have been a breakthrough year. Several of the candidates in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination have finally recognized this faith group as a vital community whose support is worth recruiting.

Just a few days before the caucuses, the national board of the Muslim Caucus of America, as well Iowa state Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, the sole Muslim in the state Legislature, announced their endorsements of Sanders, the senator from Vermont.

Five mosques were approved as satellite caucus locations, and many of the Muslim Americans in the greater Des Moines area attended them. The satellite sites were set up to allow caucusgoers to participate at times and locations more convenient for them. Any campaign, organization or constituent group could apply to have the party authorize satellite sites.


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