By Carol Pogash, New York Times
OAKLAND, Calif. — After Friday Prayer at the Oakland Islamic Center, Mamoun Kund, a 51-year-old Sudanese-American, sat at a table and did something he had not done in the 11 years he has been a citizen — he registered to vote. Until recently, he had no interest, he said, but now “I hear talk about Muslims, Hispanics and women.”
“It doesn’t make sense,” he added. “Americans aren’t like that.”
Upstairs in the area for women, Dina Agag, who wore a bright red head scarf, picked up voter registration forms for herself and five members of her family. As she did, a friend whispered, “This is the most important vote in our life.”
These are unsettling times for many American Muslims.
“People are losing their sleep,” said Naeem Baig, the president of the Islamic Circle of North America. “The political environment is creating a divide in America” by race, language, gender and religion.
But it also has had an unintended consequence: galvanizing Muslims to vote.
In late December, after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, and the call by Donald Trump, now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, a national umbrella group, announced plans to register a million voters.
“When your existence in society is in danger, you try to mobilize your community,” said the organization’s secretary-general, Oussama Jammal. “You have to be part of…