The Canadian-Muslim Vote, other groups rallying Muslim voters
After just 30 per cent of Canadian Muslims cast a vote in the last federal election, a number of groups are trying to get more people from that community to the polls.
The Canadian-Muslim Vote has been handing out pamphlets and speaking to potential voters at Mosques and other gatherings throughout this election campaign. With issues like security legislation, immigration policy and Islamophobia in the news, there's plenty to talk about in the diverse community.
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"If you are at a large Muslim event, you'll see us. If you are at a Muslim political event, we'll be there," said Muneeza Sheikh, who works with the organization.
The number of young Muslim activists that are going out there, knocking on doors, handing out flyers … has been unprecedented.- Mohammed Hashim, Dawanet
At Friday prayers at Ryerson University, many young voters were reminded of their duty to get involved.
Khalid Daud said many don't vote because they feel that their views are not being heard.
"Perhaps they're discouraged," Daud, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Canada, said.
Abrahim Khan, a first-year student who is politically active, has heard similar reasoning.
"Their issues are not being dealt with, so that steers them away from the whole idea of voting," he said.
Young Muslims are concerned about the same issues as other young Canadians, like rising unemployment, said Mohammed Hashim, an organizer with Dawanet, a non-profit, focused on empowering and engaging voters.
But, Hashim said, these predominately second-generation Muslims are more politically involved than their parents.
"The number of young Muslim activists that are going out there, knocking on doors, handing out flyers … has been unprecedented," he told CBC Radio's Metro Morning, adding this could be the first election with young Muslims really make a difference on election day.
Both Hashim and Mohamed Boudjenane, of the Canadian Arab Federation, believe polarizing issues like the Conservatives' desire to ban the niqab at citizenship ceremonies will drive more people to get involved in politics.
"Those issues will resonate with the community at large and maybe you'll see this time around the vote will become more crystalized and more focused," he said.
And with more than 1 million Canadians identifying as Muslim as of 2011 and that population expected to grow, the community does have some political clout.