Democrats urge Georgia's Muslims to vote in Senate runoff

Online US event urges Muslim voters in Georgia to help secure a Democrat victory
3 min read
15 December, 2020
Democrats are trying to persuade Muslims in Georgia to register to vote and secure them a victory in the senate runoff.
Representative Tlaib has taken part in an online event to promote Democratic candidates [Getty]
As early voting opens for the US Senate race in Georgia, activists and local organisations are pushing the state's Muslim population to go to the polls and ensure their voice is heard.

On 5 January the state will see a run-off between candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, representing the Republican Party, and Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossof.

The Democrats want to build on the momentum of Biden's recent victory in the US presidential election, and is looking for help of Muslims to win the southern state in the hotly contested, upcoming Senate elections.

On Sunday, Democrat representative for Michigan, Rashida Tlaib, took part in an online "vote-a-thon" in a bid to encourage the state's Muslims - estimated to be over 100,000 - to use their votes and, with any luck, swing the results in their favour.

At the event, which was co-hosted buy the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Georgia Muslim Voter Project, Tlaib said: "I hope that you realise just the opportunity here that Allah has given us to show the power of Muslims in Georgia."
"I want to, mashallah [what Allah has willed] be able to say, 'Look at the voting in these precincts and guess what? It was the Muslim vote that delivered Georgia'," Tlaib said.

In 2018, Tlaib and Ilhan Omar became the first two Muslim women to be elected to the US Congress. 
Read more: Battle for the Senate: How Georgia's Muslim community is mobilising the vote

Speaking about the Georgia run-off, Omar said: "I do hope that when the election is decided on January 5, and people are able to analyse who came out and voted, we will hear that the Muslims in Georgia were a big part of making the right decision in this historic election."

Abdullah Jabar, executive director of CAIR, has previously told The New Arab the power of the Muslim vote. 

"The intensity is mirroring the presidential election. Not only would they represent Georgia, but they would also determine control of the Senate," he said.
"We're seeing a lot of movement. There are more than 100,000 Muslims in Georgia, 70 percent of whom [that are eligible] are registered voters. It's a modest size compared with other states. But the sheer number means it makes a difference."
According to the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, who also took part in the online event, registrations have doubled since 2016. 
As well as posting information about how Muslims can register to vote, the Georgia Muslim Voter Project has also been called on other Georgians to get their message out.
A run-off election is required in Georgia because the 3 November result did not secure the required 50 percent of votes needed to be able to claim victory.
Currently, the Republican Party has a majority of two in the US Senate. A Democratic Party victory in the Georgia run-off would put them level and, under house rules, would leave the deciding vote with Vice-President elect Kamala Harris - a Democrat. 
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