Muslims not included in DNC or RNC official events
by Sheila Musaji
CAIR reports that there are a record number of Arab and Muslim delegates at the DNC - more than 100 from 20 different states.
I can’t find any numbers as to how many Muslim delegates there were at the RNC, but doubt it could be very many. In fact, in light of the GOP’s pattern of what amounts to a war on Muslims and the fact that this year’s GOP platform included an anti-Sharia plank which was adopted unanimously by the GOP platform committee, I am surprised that there are any Muslims still in the GOP. The recent AAI poll highlighting the fact that Republicans strongly dislike Muslims should convince the few Muslims left in the GOP to reconsider.
Muslims have not been included in any official events at either the DNC or the RNC. The Islamophobic Attempt to Marginalize American Muslim Civic Participation discusses the tactics that have so successfully marginalized the Muslim and Arab civic participation.
The Huffington Post listed the DNC lineup of religious speakers: Tuesday invocation: Metropolitan Nicholas, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit; Tuesday benediction: Jena Lee Nardella, executive director, Blood: Water Mission; Wednesday invocation: the Rev. Vashti Murphy McKenzie, presiding bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Church; Wednesday benediction: Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple in Los Angeles; Thursday invocation: the Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president, National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Thursday benediction: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.
BJC Mobile listed the lineup of religious speakers at the RNC: Tuesday invocation– Rabbi Meir Soloveichik (Director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University); Tuesday benediction– Sammy Rodriguez (President of The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference); Wednesday invocation– Ishwar Singh (head of the Sikh Society of Central Florida); Wednesday benediction– Archbishop Demetrios (Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America); Thursday invocation– Ken and Priscilla Hutchins (President of the Boston Mormon temple and his wife); Thursday benediction– Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan (President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops). In addition, the RNC opened with a color guard from the Catholic Knights of Columbus.
Greek Orthodox, Evangelical Protestant, African Methodist Episcopal, Jewish, Roman Catholic, Sikh, and Mormon clergy were included in the official programs of the DNC and the RNC. That is more diversity than we have seen in the past, and a good thing. However, Muslims are glaringly absent from this list.
While Muslim delegates may have been on the floor, none were visible officially or on the stage. Although the Islamophobia echo chamber was hysterical about a Muslim Jumah prayer being part of the DNC, the reality was that it was an event in a local park arranged by a group called BIMA four days before the DNC began, and was never any part of the official program. See Islamophobes discover “DNC Muslim Prayer Jihad”? for a complete discussion of this event.
The only two Muslim members of Congress will co-host an event at the DNC. On Thursday, the American Muslim Democratic Caucus (AMDC) will hold a press conference followed by a luncheon at the DNC and expects about 250 people to attend. The AMDC 3rd Quadrennial Gala Reception/Luncheon in honor of the Muslim and Arab American elected delegates attending the Convention. Expected guests include Muslim Delegates, Democratic Party leadership and elected officials. Expected Speakers at the Luncheon include: Senate Majority Whip Senator Dick Durbin, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Keith Ellison (Co-Host), Congressman Andre Carson (Co-Host), Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Founder and President of Arab American Institute Dr. James Zogby (DNC), Mr. James Roosevelt Jr. (DNC), State Representative Rashida Tlaib, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa. This event will be Co-hosted by: Congressman Keith Ellison, Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District and Congressman Andre Carson, Indiana’s 7th Congressional District. The AMDC press release says that AMDC (http://www.am-mdc.org/) is a grassroots political advocacy group for the Democratic Party in the American Muslim community. We promote Democratic Party agenda with an aim to enhance Muslim participation in political discourse. Our mission is to provide leadership and to fully participate in the ongoing process of restoring America’s Promise of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness through our shared sacrifices and common struggle.
This year, perhaps some Muslims will at least be visible at the conventions. Remember, the 2008 campaign when Ben Smith reported that: “Two Muslim women at Barack Obama’s rally in Detroit were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women’s headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.”
Perhaps in 2016, a Muslim will actually be officially included.