2016 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for politics in the UK with two defining votes taking place in early summer. On May 5th, Londoners will cast their choice for Mayor of the capital and on 7th June, the UK will come out to vote in an historic ‘In/Out’ referendum on its future involvement with the European Union. The campaign trails for both elections are well under way with individuals and political parties vying for the public’s support.
With such important votes taking place this year, Imams and Mosques across the UK are encouraging their congregation and the wider Muslim community to be active in their political participation and to make informed decisions before casting their ballots. The results of the London Mayoral election will affect one of the major capitals of the world and a city that has a significant and very diverse Muslim population. It is important that the Muslim community plays a part in electing the next Mayor of the capital and engages with them on issues pertinent to the Muslim community today.
Imams and Mosques are encouraging their congregations to be part of this political process in a number of ways. One of the most important things they are encouraging Muslims to do is register to vote in order to confirm their eligibility to cast a vote. The process to do this is very easy and doesn’t take much time but it ensures that the individual has a say in the upcoming elections and avoids the disappointment of not being able to take part on the day.
As active citizens of the UK, Muslims have a responsibility to engage with wider society and ensure that they are acting in a way that is beneficial to both their own communities and those around them. When making a decision, Muslims must make sure that they are taking into account the sentiments and feelings of those around them be they people of faith or no faith and do what is best for their community, wider society and city as a whole.
It is important that Muslim faith leaders and Islamic institutions continue to instil within their communities the importance of political participation and continue to communicate and engage with local councils and electoral candidates on their policies, build trust and have the confidence to offer ideas and solutions of their own.
The deadline to register to vote is 18th April, 2016.