The Georgia Muslim Voter Project was founded in late 2015, in response to the growing anti-Muslim rhetoric that was prevalent in mainstream politics and the low rates of civic engagement in the Muslim community. The mission of GAMVP is to activate Muslim voters in order to elevate our voices. We stand for equal representation and justice in all forms.
In 2016, we held a series of nonpartisan civic engagement workshops at mosques around the Metro Atlanta area to teach folks about the basics of civic engagement: what it means, what are the different forms, and immediate steps that they can take to become active.
We also jumped right into voter registration efforts ahead of the 2016 Presidential Primary. GAMVP volunteers were out every Friday at 3-4 different mosques around the state to register voters during the weekly service for Muslims. Through a combination of online and paper-based voter registration, we were able to register over 1000 new voters in our first year alone. Many of these were first time voters, and few were New Americans. A majority of people were those that had been citizens for years, but never had the motivation to register and actually vote.
So far in 2017, we have partnered with other local organizations to host a candidate forum for the Roswell City Council Special Election that took place in March. This was a great educational opportunity for members of the Muslim community to meet and learn directly from candidates about issues they would work on if elected. The forum was held at the Roswell Community Masjid – the first time a candidate forum has been hosted at a mosque in Georgia.
This year we were also very active in the special election for the seat in the 6th congressional district and other city council special elections. While we had canvassed nearly every mosque in Metro Atlanta ahead of the 2016 election, we were able to continue to register voters, many who had just turned 18 and would be voting in their first election.
Aisha Yaqoob is the founder of the Georgia Muslim Voter Project, an initiative to increase voter registration and turnout in the Muslim community in Georgia. She completed her Masters of Public Administration from the University of Georgia in May 2016 after completing her undergraduate degree in Journalism/Public Relations in 2013. Aisha has worked and volunteered with various Atlanta area nonprofit organizations. She is involved in her local community through various initiatives and has served advisory roles in civic organizations. Recently, she was one of the co-organizers of the Atlanta March for Social Justice & Women and has organized other community events to help bring awareness to issues that affect women, refugees, and immigrants.
Safa Siddiqi is the Program Coordinator for Georgia Muslim Voter Project. She completed her Masters in Public Administration in May 2017 from the University of South Carolina, where she also completed her undergraduate degree. Safa has two years of experience working for local government and actively engaging with members of their constituency. As a Floodplain Technician for the City of Columbia, she was tasked with outreaching to the public about the aid grants to address issues that were left behind after the floods in October 2015. Safa recently moved to Atlanta with her husband and is looking forward to getting to know the Muslim community through her work with the Georgia Muslim Voter Project and other organizations.