Boston-Area Muslims Get Involved in Local Politics

August 29, 2005

Source: The Boston Globe

On August 29, 2005 The Boston Globe reported, "On a recent evening, an effort to turn local Muslims into a political constituency was underway in a blank, fluorescent-lit classroom at Northeastern University. Four candidates for the Boston City Council took questions from 10 young Muslim men and women. Some of the queries were like those at any other candidates' forum, though the grilling was especially thorough. Sana Fadel wanted to know how Councilor Stephen J. Murphy had followed through on a promise to keep parks lit later at night. Why had he voted against rent control? What was his answer for people who need affordable housing? There were also questions municipal candidates do not often hear. 'Where do you draw the line with this Patriot Act?' Zana Blinker asked Ed Flynn. 'Our rights have been thrown in the toilet!'... It all made the organizer, Hamza Pelletier, happy. He and others have been trying to persuade Muslims to get more active, arguing that it is the way to battle what he says is bias against people of his faith since Sept. 11. If Muslims come to be seen as a distinct constituency, politicians will be more responsive to their needs, Pelletier says... The constituency is still in its infancy. But there has been a distinct rise in political activity among local Muslims over the last couple of years. Hundreds of new voters have been registered at mosques in the region over the past year or two."