The significance of our recent organizing effort in Orland Park is apparent in the numbers. Before the pilot project in Orland Park, approximately 700 Muslim voters were registered in the village; after the mobilization, approximately 1,000 eligible Muslim voters, a 40% increase, are registered. Of approximately 9,000 voters who go to the polls in the average mayoral election in the village, approximately 1,000, or 11.1%, of the potential average voting population for local elections is now American Muslim. In a contested race, 11.1% is a significant percentage of the total average voting population and can swing an election toward or away from a candidate. In the April 5 election, the CAIR-Chicago volunteer corps in Orland Park directly organized and mobilized approximately 150 Muslim households to the polls through door-to-door volunteers and a simultaneous phone banking operation.
CAIR-Chicago’s Governmental Relations Department will continue to organize pockets of Muslim communities in Chicagoland and is looking forward to using the lessons learned in Orland Park as the archetype for continued successful organizing efforts around the city. With regard to the continued mobilization efforts, Director of Governmental Relations, Fadi Farhan, stated, “There are an estimated 400,000 Muslims living in Chicagoland; we must utilize the ethnic and racial diversity of our community to our collective advantage. If the goal is real political empowerment, then this is the next necessary step for the community. Organization and its subsequent power are within our community’s reach.”
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