“Securing the Muslim Future” by Ahmet S. Tekelioglu, CAIR-Philadelphia Outreach and Education Director

Civic Engagement: Building Political Power for American Muslims

American Muslim civic engagement is the foundation upon which we can secure our community’s long-term interests and make our contributions to the broader community.

Our many successes described below could not have happened but for your generous support that sustained CAIR-Philadelphia even throughout this pandemic-infected year.

In 2020 CAIR-Philadelphia led a comprehensive, sustained civic engagement program that included:

  • Registering eligible American Muslims to vote
  • Organizing to ensure a high percentage of Muslims utilizing early and mail-in voting as well as showing up for polls on Election Day
  • Engaging our community about the importance of Census
  • Involving American Muslims in the political process

Our civic engagement work was supported by multiple foundation grants, and included collaboration with Muslim and many other interfaith partners to achieve the following benchmarks in our GOTV (GET OUT THE VOTE) efforts:

  • 78,349 phone calls made to Muslim Americans in Pennsylvania and Delaware
  • 90,273 text messages sent to Muslim Americans in Pennsylvania and Delaware
  • 94 volunteers recruited for these efforts and supported with stipends from the grants we received

CAIR-Philadelphia also built alliances and joined Pennsylvania Voice and AAPI Power Caucus to create greater synergy and organize trainings across Pennsylvania among like-minded social justice organizations, such as MPower Change, APIVote, Philly Counts, and Center on Civic Engagement. 

These coalitions helped us amplify our civic engagement programs in multiple languages and across multiple counties in the Greater Delaware Valley Region.


In Philadelphia and beyond we continued to engage public policy matters, including on the Plain View Project that documented anti-Muslim bigotry prevalent in the Philadelphia Police Department. We joined other civic and faith leaders for conversations with the PPD on and other community concerns around policing and violence. 

Empowerment and Education 

In 2020, our youth-focused education and equity work continued to grow. We further developed our work with parents and students in Brandywine School District in Delaware and T/E School District as well as with the Department of Education’s Inclusion and Equity committee to advocate for greater inclusion for American Muslim students. We have also started a new grant project through “PA is Ready!” that is enabling us to work with parents and students to increase American-Muslim participation in school districts in Allentown and Harrisburg hubs.

Our dynamic, young board members are also stepping in to help us reach broader audiences. They are building new programs such as a fresh new podcast channel (stay tuned!) where they will address issues that our young community members identified as critical (mental health, Islamophobia, career pathways, drug addiction, among others). In this work, we are benefiting from the youth survey that was recently led by our young board members – the survey shows that our youth need more relevant programming and open conversations.

We took a conscious step to empower our community through arts-focused programming to dispel misunderstandings about Islam. Our ongoing work with “Contest of the Fruits” at Haverford College brought increased attention not only to the Uyghur culture and heritage, but also to the diversity within our community. 

Our office was among the leading institutions that put together programming and messaging to encourage honest introspection in our communities on racial inequities and racism. Br. Iftekhar Hussain’s much sought after sermon series led to several more focused conversations that are ongoing at multiple levels. 

Our empowerment programs also benefited from new partnerships and synergies; with our full membership in leading faith based organizing collective POWER and immigrant and refugee rights coalition Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC), we are better able to advocate on a greater number of issue areas impacting our community. Finally, our relationship with “Resolve Philly” is enabling us to build further connections with journalists and newsrooms in the Philadelphia area.

So please donate today to help secure the Muslim future!

Thank you for your generous support.

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