By TMO Stringer
Muslims flocked to the Michigan capitol on Thursday May 17th for the Michigan Muslim Capitol Day 2012.
The event was sponsored by the office of State Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Lisa Brown and Senator Morris Hood Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, CAIR-MI, MMDC.
Dr. Nakadar of TMO, in a luncheon with several congressional staffers, presented demographic statistics on the Muslim population in different regions of Michigan, which he said â€œsparked a lot of questions.â€
Six or seven staffers were present at the luncheon.
â€œThey were amazed to learn about the statistics and their eyes rolled back in their heads!â€ said Dr. Nakadar.
In Southeast Michigan, he told them, 175,296 Muslim registered voters help influence elections.
In Northwest Michigan, his demographic survey says, approximately 30,000 Muslim voters participate in elections.
The event took place all day in Lansing, from 9AM to 3:30PM, with many prominent Muslims and Muslim organizations taking part, the natural political response to the years of hostile pressure brought to bear against the Muslim community since 9/11.
The event was organized largely by CAIR Michigan, and a committee which consisted of Raheem Hanifa, Mitchell Shamsuddin, Ahmar Iqbal, and Dr. Muzammil Ahmed.
Raheem Hanifa works at CAIR Michigan. Mitchell Shamsuddin is a prominent regional community activist, Ahmar Iqbal has played a starring role in relations with Michiganâ€™s Republican party, helping Governor Snyder win his first term as governor aned serving as a go-between between the Muslim community and the Republican party.
Dr. Muzammil Ahmed has played a prominent role in many of Michiganâ€™s Muslim organizations for years, and now serves on the Board of Directors of CAIR Michigan and the newly organized MMCC.
Raheem Hanifa of CAIR played a starring role in the well-planned organization of the day, arranging about 20 meetings during the day with state representatives and senators in coordination with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Michiganâ€™s only Muslim legislator.
â€œAbout 40 people came to the Capitol Day,â€ said Mr. Hanifa. They focused on â€œsome main talking pointsâ€ in their meetings with representatives, including prominently an anti-Shariâ€™ah bill which was recently introduced. â€œThe groups talked about the potential negative effects of the anti-Shariâ€™ah bill, not just to the Muslim community but to all communities.â€
A recent ISPU survey pointed out the critical role that Muslim communities may play in some of the upcoming elections, and Mr. Hanifa explained that that fact was presented to the legislators.
The opening invocation of the House of Representatives session, â€œsort of an opening prayer,â€ as Mr. Hanifa explained, was presented by Khadijah Al-Asli, a teacher from the Dearborn area. A group of about 15 Lansing students of a Muslim school was given a tour of the capitol.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib presented the Muslim Capitol Day visitors to the entire House Chamber.
â€œNow we are trying to do follow up meetings, trying to continue the relationships we have begunâ€ with the legislators, said Mr. Hanifa.