Presidential candidates bring 7,000 attendees to their feet

We co-organized the first Presidential Forum at ISNA last weekend

September 4, 2019

As a public policy organization, our primary role is to engage with government officials to ensure equal rights and representation for American Muslims. In that role, we co-organized the first Presidential Candidates Forum with our partner Emgage USA at ISNACON in Houston last weekend. 

Senator Bernie Sanders opened the session with a fiery speech highlighting America’s need to return to its core values of pluralism and equality under the law. He also made it a point to emphasize the atrocities happening in Kashmir as unacceptable and that the Indian government must respect internationallaw. Sen. Sanders was followed by former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Julián Castro. The Secretary promised that American Muslims will always be included in his endeavors.

They brought the crowd of 7,000 attendees to its feet with their advocacy and actions on issues impacting the American Muslim community. Moderators Debbie Almontaser, Emgage President Wa'el N. Alzayat and I asked questions about both long-term and urgent concerns, as well as foreign and domestic policies. Their responses inspired us all.

From the mistreatment of migrants on our southern border to the violation of human rights of Muslims worldwide, Castro and Sanders spoke about the need for us to stand together in the struggle for justice and human rights in America and around the world. 

The candidates also stressed the importance of American Muslim engagement and representation in public office.

Secretary Castro said, "It begins at home by saying that you are full partners in American progress. I believe in the U.S., we need to move forward as one nation, with one destiny where everyone counts.”

Senator Sanders commented, “The American people have responded to Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric by electing more Muslims to Congress and to state governments all across America.” 

The Presidential election is over a year away, but we just have a few months until state primaries and caucuses begin. Who we nominate matters to all vulnerable communities in 2020. We need a candidate who not only speaks up for our rights, but who acts for them. We are grateful for the partnership with Emgage, and for the organizers at ISNA who hosted the forum. This was a breakthrough that inspired many people in the audience, especially young leaders to participate in American civic affairs. MPAC will continue to engage all candidates and host another Presidential Forum this fall to continue the conversation with our community on issues important to us - and to all Americans. Stay tuned for updates. 



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