On a Friday afternoon after prayers, 17-year-old Haneen Jaber filled out a form on the patio of the Muslim Society of Memphis.
About to turn 18, Jaber was registering to vote.
“A lot of the things that are going on in the government are made by the decision of the people,” Jaber said. “Don’t just stay in the back. Be up there in the front. That’s what you should do as an American. I believe I should put my part in and decide on good choices for America.”
Jaber was one of many Muslims around the country registering to vote as part of National Muslim Voter Registration Day. In Memphis, the American Muslim Advisory Council is holding registration drives at five area mosques, trying to increase civic engagement before the municipal elections in October.
The National Muslim Voter Registration Day is part of the #MyMuslimVote campaign, also taking place across the country.
Najmun Noor, West Tennessee program manager for the American Muslim Advisory Council, said Muslims around the world feel “beleaguered.”
“Others look at us differently,” Noor said. “This is a time (when) we want our voices to be heard (and) at the same time our rights to be established.”
Mariam Khayata, a political science and international studies major at Rhodes College, has done registration drives in previous years. There’s a realization among Muslims that they need to become more active in U.S. elections, she said.