Candidates Courting Muslim Voters In Northern Virginia | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Candidates Courting Muslim Voters In Northern Virginia

Play associated audio
Candidates for office speak at Dar Alnoor Islamic Community Center in Manassas, Va.
Michael Pope
Candidates for office speak at Dar Alnoor Islamic Community Center in Manassas, Va.

At the Dar AlNoor Community Center in Manassas, Va., thousands of Muslims gathered for Eid, the end of Ramadan, and so have about a dozen candidates for office. Safiya Samman of Woodbridge says every year, more and more candidates come to the community center to court an increasingly important voting bloc.

"The Muslims are really part of the American structure, and they are citizens of this country, and we feel very much American," says Samman.

Republican Del. Mark Dudenhefer came to the center asking for votes.

"I have not been here before, and I apologize for not having been here before," says Dudenhefer. "I think dialogue and understanding is the shortest road to having a free society."

Many of the issues here are the same you would hear anywhere else. Muslims want good schools and good roads. Other issues are more focused to the needs of the community, such as opposition to legislation prohibiting Islamic law in Virginia.

"I think they want to appeal to a certain segment who are out there to do work against minorities," says Rafi Ahmen, president of the Muslim Association of Virginia.

Last year and then again this year, legislation to ban Islamic law failed to get out of committee. Republican attorney general candidate Mark Obenshain says he thinks the legislation is unnecessary.

"There is always a great deal of concern in Richmond about things that are unfamiliar, and I think that the General Assembly showed good judgment in slowing down the process," Obenshain says.

Lama Samman of Woodbridge says she's glad politicians are starting to take Muslim voters seriously.

"A lot more of us are becoming more involved in the community at different levels, whether they be at the political or at the grassroots level," says Samman. "So, you know, we are starting to make a difference hopefully."

All politics is local, though. And so one of the biggest issues here is zoning. Leaders at the center are planning to open a school.

WAMU 88.5

'Historic Landmark' Status Complicates Corcoran Renovations

Plans by George Washington University to renovate the Corcoran Gallery of Art may be thrown for a loop after D.C.'s historic preservation board designated much of the interior of the building as a historic landmark.

NPR

In This Museum, Visitors Can Eat At The Exhibits

The Southern Museum of Food and Beverage in New Orleans chronicles the eats and drinks of the Southern states. And it may be one of the only museums where visitors can imbibe while viewing exhibits.
NPR

Staten Island Candidates Avoid Talk Of Eric Garner Case

In the New York Congressional district where an an unarmed black man died at the hands of police last year, neither candidate for a special congressional election is using the death to score points.
NPR

As Health Apps Hop On The Apple Watch, Privacy Will Be Key

The notion of receiving nutrition advice from artificial intelligence on your wrist may seem like science fiction. But health developers are betting this kind of behavior will become the norm.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.