GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Asma Noray said the energy around this election in the Arab and Muslim American communities has been different. People felt more motivated this time to vote than they have in the past.
“People are more motivated. People are willing to talk about politics in their faith spaces, in a way that I’ve never really seen before,” Noray said during an interview with Fox 17 on Friday. “So it’s been really encouraging.”
She said the energy paid off at the polls. Official numbers haven’t been released on how many from her community voted, but it’s "record" numbers.
“It’s a powerful moment no matter who you are, no matter your political party,” said Ismahan Abdullahi, executive director of the Muslim American Society. “This is a beautiful moment to just take a step back and to realize the power of what's happening in this moment.”
Abdullahi also works in public affairs and civic engagement with the society. She said her team made 185,000 calls and texts to Arab and Muslim communities in eight states including Michigan. She believes their vote is what helped to turn certain swing states like Michigan blue.
“We know that when our communities are activated, you’re not just activating one individual, the power comes when that individual carries with them multiple votes,” Abdullahi said. “So, they’re telling their uncles, their aunts, their brothers and sisters, their extended family to vote.”
Noray believes what motivated people to vote in the election is when they learned how slim the margin was in the 2016 election.
“When you actually tell them the numbers that Trump won by 11,000 votes in 2016 and there’s like 125,00 registered Muslims just in Wayne County, that can make a really big difference,” Noray said. “I think that’s one big factor. And the other is just living with four years of blatant racism, hatred, over and over on the TV.”
Noray said Trump’s language and actions have been so bad that people have been afraid to leave their homes. So many in the community are hoping for Biden to win and that he appreciates their people.
“I’m hoping that Biden wins the presidency but also that he recognizes the role that Black communities, immigrant communities, Muslim communities have played in this election and in the turnout,” Noray said. “And to really recognize that those are the communities that are going to be pushing this country forward.”