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Muslim Journal Political Coverage

DURING White House MINORITY Business Leaders’ Briefing….

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Black Chamber (USBC) Inc. signed a historic, Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM) during the recent White House Business Leaders Briefing: “Celebrating Our Business Leaders – A Day with the Top 100 African American Business Owners in America.”

The Briefing, which took place at the White House, featured top African American business owners from across the country and Senior White House and Obama Administration officials, who discussed how the Administration is impacting key issues of concern within the business community, and how businesses can partner with the Obama Administration in the future.

The event was the culmination of a four-day, U. S. Black Chamber School of Chamber Management Conference, at Georgetown University.

The strategic alliance was highlighted during the “Arm Chair Conversation” on “Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and African American Businesses.”

The discussion featured SBA Deputy Administrator, Marie Johns, USBC President and CEO, Ron Busby, and Senior Vice President/Editor-in-Chief, Derek Dingle, who discussed a number of issues relating to small Black business, including the FY 2011 Federal Procurement Scorecard, how to strengthen relationships with Small Business Development Centers, financial institutions, and how best to leverage SBA resources.

In addition, they discussed potential ways to enhance efforts to grow Black businesses based on USBC’s Five Pillars of Service: Advocacy, Access to Capital, Contracting, Entrepreneur Training, and Chamber Development.

According to the Memorandum, the purpose of the two-year partnership is to develop and foster mutual understanding and a working relationship between the SBA and the USBC in order to strengthen and expand small business development across the country.

“We are very pleased to partner with the SBA”, says Busby.   “This strategic alliance is going to allow the USBC to increase and enhance efforts in assisting small black businesses, particularly with regard to employment and economic development.”

The Briefing also included:  Ambassador Ron Kirk, United States Trade Representative; Jon Carson, Director, White House Office of Public Engagement; Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council; David Hinson, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency, Department of Commerce; Tricia Kerney-Willis, Director of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, External Outreach, U.S. Department of Treasury; Jeanne Hilt, Associate Administrator, Office of Capital Access, U.S. Small Business Administration; Ali “John” Shoraka, Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development, U.S. Small Business Administration; and Joseph Jordan, Administrator, Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Management and Budget.

Major USBC Conference sponsors include: AT&T, Wells Fargo, United Airlines, Dell, Clarity for Consumers, IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bloomberg Government, OutreachSpeed, NACA, National 8(a) Association, National Grid, Merrill Lynch, FDIC, Caesars Entertainment, and Walmart.

About the U.S. Black Chamber, Inc. (USBC): The U. S. Black Chamber, Inc. provides committed, visionary leadership and ad­vocacy in the realization of economic empowerment.

Through the creation of resources and initiatives, it supports African American Chambers of Commerce and business orga­nizations in their work of developing and growing Black enterprises.

The USBC has 107 Chambers and affiliated Business Associations in 20 states, supporting 240,000 small businesses through its Five Pillars of Service: Advocacy, Access to Capital, Contracting, Entrepreneur Training, and Chamber Development.

It is an economic force, with key strategic partners, and represents a powerful constituency.

There are 1.9 million privately held Black-owned businesses across every industry sector in the United States, employing over 921,000 persons, and generating $137.5 billion in annual revenue. Of the 1.9 million Black-owned businesses, nearly 912,000 are owned by African American women.

In addition, the USBC School of Chamber Management is the only program of its kind that convenes the best of its chamber lead­ership, corporate partners and policy makers from across the country for an annual conference.

To learn more about the USBC, its advocacy agenda, and national network of Black chambers, visit www.usblackchamber.org.

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On way to IFTAR at White House

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  On Fri., Aug. 10, 2012, Warithudeen Mohammed II, President of The Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, attended President Barack Obama's 4th Annual Ramadan Iftar Dinner at the White House and sat at the President's table, along with five other female guests and one other male guest, the President of ISNA.

Warithudeen Mohammed II sat directly across from the President, and ISNA’s President sat at the President's immediate left.  President Barack Obama had friendly conversation and answered questions from all table guests for over an hour, while enjoying dinner.

Comments from W. Deen Mohammed II: “At the White House, there was a family atmosphere. And you felt like you were going to dinner in someone's private home.

We were greeted by a gentleman who had President Thomas Jefferson's personal Qur’an with the initials J.F. printed right on the page.

Members attending from Imam W. Deen Mohammed community were: W. Deen Mohammed II, Imam Talib Shareef, Imam Wahy-ud Deen Shareef and Bro. Mateen of MAVA.  Imam Wahy Deen Shareef and Imam Talib Shareef both carried gift bags intended for the President.

The beauty of everything and the reflection of the rich history of our country captivated our attention.  We received our individual seating assignments and ascended the stairs and joined our host Paul Monteiro and about 100 of the other guests.  With a smile, Paul Monteiro simply stated, “You are at the President’s table.”

We mingled, took photos and exchanged contact information until the Athan was called.  We broke our fast, performed Salatul Maghrib and entered the dining area and were seated with other guests.  Shortly after being seated, it was announced that the President had arrived.

President Obama walked to the podium, addressed the audience briefly and joined us at his table.  We enjoyed conversation and a three course meal for over an hour.  There was an exchange of questions from the President to us, and he invited questions from us.

President Obama told his table guests: “I work down here and live upstairs.”  He mentioned spending time with Michelle and his daughters. And I reflected: I have a very similar situation, as I too work downstairs and live upstairs in our family home.  Al-hamdullilah.

One thing that stood out for me is when I had the opportunity to speak to the President.   I stated how I heard my father, Imam W. Deen Mohammed, speak of him in such high regards and also made predictions of the great change he represented for us as a people.

I expressed that I, too, believe in the change in the future my father spoke of and witnessed its fulfillment in his Presidency.  The President responded by reminding me that I had told him of this.  That response was almost identical to Imam Mohammed's response whenever I followed up on any message that I may have sent to him.

At some point in the conversation, President Obama said, “Your father and I were very close.”  This was such an overwhelming and unexpected blessing, to share a meal during the month of Ramadan and to hear these words from such a great leader, that it humbled me.

I felt it necessary to tell the President that I often say that my presence is due primarily to my father's work and I still view myself as "Little Wallace from the Southside of Chicago," to which he responded, "you have your own future, legacy and work ahead of you."

As you know, Imam Mohammed instructed me as a young teen to address myself as W. Deen Mohammed II, as opposed to Junior or Little Wallace.  During dinner, I did let the President know that my wife, Robin, and I named our 3-year-old son after him, Barack Ali Muhammad.

The President responded, "That's a good thing," and repeated it: "That's a good thing.”

On behalf of The Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, we pray that somehow this historic meeting has a similar or equal impact on the followers, friends and supporters of Imam W. Deen Mohammed's life's work and legacy and helps us continue on to a greater and more productive society that is pleasing to G-d.

We thank President Barack Obama.




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Obama Speaks

(The White House pool reporter was Cheryl Bolen, reporter BNA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This will be the fourth Iftar that President Barack Obama has hosted, continuing the tradition of hosting Iftars that began annually under President Bill Clinton and was continued by President George W. Bush.

The invited guests include elected officials, religious and grassroots leaders in the Muslim American community, and leaders of diverse faiths and members of the diplomatic corps.

The White House Iftar was set up for 120 people with gold-rimmed chargers, the centerpieces of yellow and pale pink roses with pale blue hydrangea, and the tablecloths of an olive gray with gold pattern.

President Barack Obama came in at 8:40 p.m. and spoke at a podium set up in front of the fireplace under the portrait of President Lincoln.

Four members of the Community of Imam  W. Deen Mohammed's community were invited and in attendance:   Bro. W. Deen Mohammed II, of Chicago, Ill., Imam Wahy Deen Shareef of Newark, N.J., Imam Talib M. Shareef, of Washington, D.C., and Bro.  Saleem Abdul-Mateen, of D.C. and a Muslim American veteran and member of MAVA.

Also attending and considered members of Imam W. Deen Mohammed’s community were Congressmen Keith Ellison of Minneapolis, Minn., and Andre Caron of Indianapolis, Ind.

This is a great accomplishment for the Community of Imam Mohammed in that last year only one member of his community attended – Imam Talib Shareef, who sat at the President’s table last year.

 PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’s ADDRESS (in excerpt):  Welcome to the White House.  Of all the freedoms we cherish as Americans, of all the rights that we hold sacred, foremost among them is freedom of religion, the right to worship as we choose.

It’s enshrined in the First Amendment of our Constitution – the law of the land, always and forever.  It beats in our heart -- in the soul of the people who know that our liberty and our equality is endowed by our Creator.  And it runs through the history of this house, a place where Americans of many faiths can come together and celebrate their holiest of days – and that includes Ramadan.

As I’ve noted before, Thomas Jefferson once held a sunset dinner here with an envoy from Tunisia – perhaps the first Iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago.  And some of you, as you arrived tonight, may have seen our special display, courtesy of our friends at the Library of Congress – the Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson.  And that's a reminder, along with the generations of patriotic Muslims in America, that Islam – like so many faiths – is part of our national story.

This evening, we’re honored to be joined by members of our diplomatic corps, members of Congress – including Muslim American members of Congress, Keith Ellison and Andre Carson – as well as leaders from across my administration.

And to you, the millions of Muslim Americans across our country, and to the more than one billion Muslims around the world – Ramadan Kareem.

Now, every faith is unique.  And yet, during Ramadan, we see the traditions that are shared by many faiths:  Believers engaged in prayer and fasting, in humble devotion to God.  Families gathering together with love for each other.  Neighbors reaching out in compassion and charity, to serve the less fortunate.

People of different faiths coming together, mindful of our obligations to one another – to peace, justice and dignity for all people –  men and women.  Indeed, you know that the Qur’an teaches, “Be it man or woman, each of you is equal to the other.”

And by the way, we’ve seen this in recent days.  In fact, the Olympics is being called “The Year of the Woman.”  Here in America, we’re incredibly proud of Team USA – all of them – but we should notice that a majority of the members are women.

Also, for the very first time in Olympic history, every team now includes a woman athlete.  And one of the reasons is that every team from a Muslim-majority country now includes women as well.  And more broadly – that's worth applauding.

More broadly, we’ve seen the extraordinary courage of Muslim women during the Arab Spring –  women, right alongside men, taking to the streets to claim their universal rights, marching for their freedom, blogging and tweeting and posting videos, determined to be heard.

In some cases, facing down tanks, and braving bullets, enduring detentions and unspeakable treatment, and at times, giving their very lives for the freedom that they seek –  the liberty that we are lucky enough to enjoy here tonight.

                These women have inspired their sisters and daughters, but also their brothers and their sons.  And they’ve inspired us all. Even as we see women casting their ballots and seeking – standing for office in historic elections, we understand that their work is not done.

They understand that any true democracy must uphold the freedom and rights of all people and all faiths. We know this, too, for here in America we're enriched by so many faiths, by men and women -- including Muslim American women.

                They’re young people, like the student who wrote me a letter about what it’s like to grow up Muslim in America.  She’s in college.  She dreams of a career in international affairs to help deepen understanding between the United States and Muslim countries around the world.  So if any of the diplomatic corps have tips for her ….

She says that “America has always been the land of opportunity for me, and I love this country with all my heart.”  And so we’re glad to have Hala Baig here today.

They are faith leaders like Sanaa Nadim, one of the first Muslim chaplains at an American college – a voice for interfaith dialogue who's had the opportunity to meet with the Pope to discuss these issues.  We're very proud to have you here.

They are educators like Auysha Muhayya, born in Afghanistan, who fled with her family as refugees to America, and now, as a language teacher, helps open her students to new cultures.  So we're very pleased to have her here.

They are entrepreneurs and lawyers, community leaders, members of our military, and Muslim American women serving with distinction in government.

And that includes a good friend, Huma Abedin, who has worked tirelessly in the White House, in the U.S. Senate, and most exhaustingly, at the State Department, where she has been nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear.  Senator Clinton has relied on her expertise, and so have I.

 The American people owe her a debt of gratitude – because Huma is an American patriot, and an example of what we need in this country –  more public servants with her sense of decency, her grace and her generosity of spirit.  So, on behalf of all Americans, we thank you so much.

These are the faces of Islam in America.  These are just a few of the Muslim Americans who strengthen our country every single day.  This is the diversity that makes us Americans; the pluralism that we will never lose.

 And at times, we have to admit that this spirit is threatened.  We’ve seen instances of mosques and synagogues, churches and temples being targeted.

Tonight, our prayers, in particular, are with our friends and fellow Americans in the Sikh community.  We mourn those who were senselessly murdered and injured in their place of worship.

And while we may never fully understand what motivates such hatred, such violence, the perpetrators of such despicable acts must know that your twisted thinking is no match for the compassion and the goodness and the strength of our united American family.

                So tonight, we declare with one voice that such violence has no place in the United States of America.  The attack on Americans of any faith is an attack on the freedom of all Americans.  No American should ever have to fear for their safety in their place of worship.  And every American has the right to practice their faith both openly and freely, and as they choose.

 That is not just an American right; it is a universal human right.  And we will defend the freedom of religion, here at home and around the world.  And as we do, we’ll draw on the strength and example of our interfaith community, including the leaders who are here tonight.

                So I want to thank all of you for honoring us with your presence, for the example of your lives, and for your commitment to the values that make us “one Nation under G-d, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

G-d bless you.  G-d bless the United States of America

The INVITATION LIST also included:

The Hon. John Conyers


Mr. Zango Abdu, Minister at the Embassy of Nigeria

His Excellency Yousif Mana Saeed Al Otaiba, United Arab Emirates

His Excellency Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Her Excellency Hunaina Sultan Al-Mughairy, Sultanate of Oman

His Excellency Mohamed Abdullah M. Al-Rumaihi, State of Qatar

His Excellency Mohammed Al-Hussaini Al-Sharif, League of Arab States, Arab League Mission

Mr. Adel Ahmed Alsuneini, The Charge d'Affaires of Republic of Yemen

His Excellency Abdallah Baali, People's Democratic Republic of Algeria

His Excellency Seydou Bouda, Ambassador of Burkina Faso

His Excellency Daouda Diabate, Republic of Cote d'Ivoire

His Excellency Dino Patti Djalal, Republic of Indonesia

His Excellency Maitine Djoumbe, Republic of Chad

His Excellency Bienvenu Joseph Foe-Atangana, Republic of Cameroon

His Excellency Gilbert Galanxhi, Republic of Albania

His Excellency Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

His Excellency Othman Bin Hashim, Ambassador of Malaysia

Mr. Mahmoud Daifallah Hmoud, The Charge d'Affaires of Jordan

His Excellency Akan Ismaili, Republic of Kosovo

Mr. Fakhraddin Ismayilov, The Chargé d'Affaires of the Republic of Azerbaijan

His Excellency Bayney Ram Karran, Cooperative Republic of Guyana

His Excellency Al Maamoun Baba Lamine Keita, Republic of Mali

His Excellency Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, Russian Federation

Her Excellency Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar, United Republic of Tanzania

Her Excellency Jadranka Negodic, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina

His Excellency Ilhomjon Tuychievich Nematov, Republic of Uzbekistan

His Excellency Alieu Momodou Ngum, Republic of The Gambia

His Excellency Cheik Niang, Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal

His Excellency Roble Olhaye, Republic of Djibouti

His Excellency Meret Bairamovich Orazov, Ambassador of Turkmenistan

His Excellency Michael Scott Oren, PhD, State of Israel

His Excellency Akramul Qader, People's Republic of Bangladesh

Her Excellency Sherry Rehman, Islamic Republic of Pakistan

His Excellency Nuriddin Shamsov, Republic of Tajikistan

His Excellency Sameh Hassan Shoukry, Arab Republic of Egypt

His Excellency Maman Sambo Sidikou, Republic of Niger

Mr. Tahsin Timur Soylemez, The Charge d'Affaires of the Republic of Turkey

His Excellency Bockari Kortu Stevens, Republic of Sierra Leone

Her Excellency Amelia Narciso Sumbana, Republic of Mozambique



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ATTORNEY HOLDER at OAK CREEK, Wisc., Aug. 10, 2012: I come to you today with a heavy heart, and with the knowledge that my words – or any words – are insufficient to convey the grief we all feel, to supply the answers we seek, or to provide the comfort for which we long.

But I am here – on behalf of the President of the United States, on behalf of my colleagues at the Department of Justice, and on behalf of all the American people – to stand with you, to mourn with you, and to pray with you.

Although we have been brought together by an unspeakable, and devastating, tragedy – we are bound together by far more.  We are united today – not only by a shared sense of loss, but also by a common belief in the healing power of faith, and in the universal principles that are glorified in our Nation’s churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, Gurdwaras, and other houses of worship; but also by the principles of compassion, kindness, tolerance, inclusion, and love.

The ongoing American experiment was inspired by these ideals – and by the premise that people of diverse races, colors, creeds, faiths and ideologies can work together to build a society that is rooted in freedom, personal responsibility, and equality and opportunity for all.

As President Obama has often said, “It is that fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper, [and] I am my sister’s keeper, that makes this country work.”

            This is the idea that – no matter where you come from or how you worship – once you are here, you are part of the American family.  And this also is the story of the Sikh community in our country – a community that has contributed in innumerable ways to the greatness of America.

            These were the early immigrants who came to the West Coast in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to work in lumber mills, on railway lines, and as agricultural laborers – and who stayed, building and strengthening communities around the country, from Yuba City to New York City, from Miami to Milwaukee, to Washington, D.C.

             There are public servants like Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian American ever elected to Congress; and Bhagat Singh Thind, a hero who fought for America in World War I, and then fought to become a U.S. citizen.

             We are talking about our neighbors and co-workers, our brothers and sisters, and the members of our American family – and of the Oak Creek community – who we remember today.

And we remember Prakash Singh, who just recently was overjoyed to be reunited with his wife and children from India – a Nation that is both a trusted ally and a revered friend.

            We also honor Sita and Ranjit Singh, brothers who were both priests at the Gurdwara, who devoted their lives to the practice of their faith and to the service of others.  And we reflect on the extraordinary contributions of Satwant Singh Kaleka – a key leader and founder of the Gurdwara, who, in a split-second decision, didn’t hesitate to put his own body between a deranged killer and his fellow worshippers.

We will never know how many lives he saved last Sunday – or how many more he enriched during the many days and years he spent at his beloved Gurdwara, where he was so clearly dedicated to feeding the hungry, befriending the lonely, and reaching out to help those most in need.

            Today, as we reflect on the lives and legacies of these six remarkable individuals, and keep in our hearts all those others harmed in the horrific attack, we also are reminded of the many other members of our family who have been taken from us far too suddenly – and far too soon – in other senseless acts of violence.

            Unfortunately, for the Sikh community, this sort of violence has become all too common in recent years.  In the recent past, too many Sikhs have been targeted and victimized simply because of who they are, how they look, and what they believe.

            This is wrong.  It is unacceptable.  And it will not be tolerated.  We must ask necessary questions of ourselves: what kind of nation do we truly want to have?  Will we muster the courage to demand more of those who lead us and, just as importantly, of ourselves?  What will we do to prevent that which has brought us here today from occurring in the future?

We should sensibly discuss if there is a need to change our laws, and we should certainly discuss how we might change the hearts of those so filled with hate that the despicable act we mourn today could ever have occurred.

For our Nation’s law enforcement community, our resolve to prevent acts of terrorism and combat crimes motivated by hatred has never been stronger.  And that is precisely what happened here: an act of terrorism; an act of hatred; a crime that is anathema to the founding principles of our Nation and to who we are as a people.

            Last Sunday morning, this community witnessed the very worst of human kind.  But for every minute, every hour, and every day since then, you have exemplified and inspired the very best in who we are.

            That’s what we saw in the heroic actions of Lieutenant Brian Murphy and Officer Sam Lenda, two veterans of the Oak Creek Police Department, who did what law enforcement officials are called to do every single day – protect and serve their communities.

Lieutenant Murphy was shot nine times while coming to the aid of others.  And when his fellow police officers arrived at the scene and offered to help him, he selflessly waved them off, ordering that they tend to the victims inside the Gurdwara first.

             We’ve also seen an outpouring of support – from the larger community here in Oak Creek and across the state of Wisconsin; from Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish faith leaders; and from countless Americans nationwide who are truly heartbroken by what happened here on Sunday.

             That’s because Sunday’s attack was not just an affront to the values of Sikhism.  It was an attack on the values of America itself.

            It’s worth remembering that, later this year, we will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Gurdwara in the United States.

For hundreds of years, Gurdwaras all over the world have been places of sanctuary; places where all are welcome, where all are treated with equality and dignity, where all can find shelter and nourishment, and where all should be able to seek solace and to know peace.

                Today, I wish that I could give each of you – as well as every member of our nation’s Sikh community; and every other member of our American family – the peace that you seek.  I can’t do that.  But I can make you a promise.

I want you to know that your loss will fuel the ongoing work – being led by this Administration, by our nation’s Department of Justice, and by our law enforcement community – to seek both answers and justice, to advance the investigation that’s now underway, to identify and implement the solutions that we need to prevent future tragedies, and to build on the unprecedented steps that have been taken to respond to threats – and to prevent violence and discrimination – aimed at our Sikh and other religious communities.

Protecting the safety and civil rights of every person in this country – in our schools and neighborhoods, in our workplaces and houses of worship – must, and will, remain a top priority for me and for all those who serve the American family.

This is how we will honor the victims of Sunday’s attacks.  This is how we will strengthen the American family.  This is how we will overcome today’s pain and drive tomorrow’s progress.

 Sikhs know this because, for generations, you have taught the world that progress comes when we strive to understand, and when we celebrate our commonalities.  We need you now, more than ever, to do what your ancestors have always done in times of adversity: show us what it means to rise above suffering and struggle; teach us the way to peace; and remind us that our faith – both in the divine and in each other – will allow us to transcend today’s fears, to bridge today’s divisions, to overcome today’s sorrows, to feel the healing comfort of God’s hand upon us, and to find strength in the enduring assurance that, everywhere and always, God is there.

             May G-d bless the members of our family- the American family- we remember today.  May G-d bless each of you.  And may G-d bless the United States of America.

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Submitted by Fleming El-Amin,

ACGG Voter Registration Specialist


The voting season is here again, and we must become more active and more informed.

The American Coalition for Good Government encourages all Muslims and associates in our community to vote and to help at least five associates you know to register to vote.

We have been given this sacred trust from our ancestors, who found themselves enslaved and without human dignity. Many of them sacrificed their lives so that we would carry on their hopes and dreams to participate in a government that only saw them as 3/5ths of a human being.

Their sweat, blood and tears helped to build America, and we should always remember that when we caste our vote.

Your vote is a sacred trust.

Our vote is not for sale to the highest bidder, no matter how many commercials you see in the media appealing for your vote.

Remember that thousands died during the American Civil War and only after that event did Congress add the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.

Unsung heroes and heroines sacrificed their lives during the Civil Rights Era to ensure that we have the right to vote. The souls of our ancestors cry out for us to remember them, as we actively participate in the upcoming Presidential Election, Congressional Elections, State Elections, and Local Elections – including electing Judges.

There have been attempts to discourage your participation in this critical election by some States passing voter ID requirements before you can vote.

This is merely an attempt to suppress your vote, so that those current elected officials with insensitive agendas can remain in political power. Don't be discouraged.

Check with your local board of elections to make sure you know where your voting precinct is located and what specific ID you may need to cast your vote.

Vote and take at least five of your associates to the polls to vote.

Some of the district lines for State Representatives and Congressional Representatives have been changed. Check with your local Board of Elections to see how your Representatives’ districts may have changed.

Stay active, stay informed and move forward. Our souls are not for sale, neither is our vote.

Vote in November and stay active in your local community government. Remember that you are the answer to our ancestors’ dreams and hopes.



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Convention Highlighted Voting Challenges

By Aswad Walker

Special to the NNPA from

The Houston Defender

HOUSTON, Texas (NNPA) – The NAACP’s recently concluded national Convention held in Houston saw its share of highlights. They included dramatic and powerful addresses by political and Civil Rights leaders and a host of workshops aimed at empowering members for active participation in the November presidential election.

The speech by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also drew a lot of attention. Though Romney received a polite reception and a standing ovation at the end of his speech, most of the attention focused on the fact that he was booed for promising to eliminate what he called “Obamacare.”

Romney began, however, by telling NAACP members they would vote for him if they knew his heart.

Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke at the Convention the day after Romney, received a rousing reception from the crowd. Biden criticized attacks on the right to vote in the wake of voter suppression efforts in states across the country, and also called for an end to racial profiling.

President Barack Obama appeared via a taped video message that ran before Biden spoke. “I stand on your shoulders and at the NAACP you have always believed in the American promise,” Obama said.

Ben Jealous, the NAACP’s President and CEO, spoke during the Convention’s first plenary session. He challenged members to fight back against efforts to suppress their vote.

“In the past year, more states have passed more laws pushing more voters out of the ballot box than at any time since the rise of Jim Crow,” Jealous said.

“The right to vote is the right upon which the ability to defend all our other rights is leveraged. We will ensure that our nation continues to practice free and fair elections even as we approach the day when people of color will be the majority in this country.”

Attorney General Eric Holder also spoke at the convention. With the theme “NAACP: Your Power, Your Decision – Vote” serving as the programmatic backdrop, Holder held nothing back when discussing Texas’ new voter ID law, declaring that the edict hurts minorities.

He said that party politics, rather than the well-being of the nation, was and remains the driving force behind the Republican-led legislation many view as wanton acts of voter suppression.

“We will not allow political pretext to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious rights,” said Holder, who identified Texas as the “center of our national debate” on voting rights issues.

Holder’s remarks came while the federal trial in the nation’s capital regarding Texas’ 2011 voter ID law witnessed its second day of arguments and testimony.  He promised an aggressive fight from the Justice Department to enforce and protect voting rights.

That same day, the NAACP Voting Rights Initiative hosted a mini summit titled “Confronting the Attack on Voting Rights: Stopping Voter Suppression, Breaking Down Barriers, and Expanding our Rights.”

William Barber, president of the North Carolina State Conference and NAACP Political Action and Legislative Committee Chair, led panelists in a discussion on contemporary tactics used to restrict voting rights and new measures needed to combat suppressive efforts.

Other mini summit topics included economic development, entrepreneurship and HIV/AIDS in the African American community.

Convention participants were also treated to a memorable keynote address by NAACP icon and Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond, who added his voice to the chorus of individuals urging active participation in the November election.

The breadth of challenges facing Blacks were listed by Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP’s National Board of Directors, during the convention’s opening mass meeting.

“Today, the enemies of justice are not lynching African Americans and practicing Jim Crow laws of segregation,” said Brock.  “They are more sophisticated. But they are equally sinister. They are erecting barriers to economic viability, educational quality, health care accessibility, judicial equity, and political opportunity. The opponents of justice are more refined, but they are equally threatening.”

Brock added that the iconic civil rights institution’s mission remains constant – to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination – but that the organization has developed a new game plan, adapting new strategies to address “this ‘new normal’ in American society.”


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American Coalition For Good Government


Submitted by Marvin Muhammad, ACGG – Southwest Regional Coordinator

HOUSTON, Texas – As the 2012 Presidential election approaches, one question that begs to be answered is: “To whom do we owe our vote?”

This is a question we must ponder, because automatically giving our vote to a particular party or person may not be the answer that best suits our needs.

Our vote should be utilized to place individuals in office that best fit our mission, our life style, our beliefs and our goals, regardless of political party.

Allah Almighty, say in the Qur’an (Surah 4:59): “O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those charged with authority among you….”

In deciding “to whom do we owe our vote,” we must use the logic (reasoning) of the Qur’an. In utilizing this logic (the Qur’an), there are three references we use to guide our political activity/education.

1. The Qur’an – the Word of G-d and how G-d has determined we should approach or decision making and affairs. As well as the criteria (Shariah) we use to endorse issues that are in agreement with our quest for the good life.

2. The example of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) – how did he approach controversial issues? What was his logic in supporting individuals, and what did he do to help them? How did he set up coalitions within the community and with those outside of the community?

The Medina constitution, why was it drawn up and how does the principles of this constitution guide us today?

3. Those charged with authority among you – basically our sound and good judgment. We must remember that Allah wants us to be free men and women in the city. He wants us to master our thoughts, implement our concerns to address our circumstance and to value our intellect.

In this political environment that we live in, we must remember we have the freedom to determine how we will use our skills and our collective ability for our personal and collective benefit.

It has been established that we have the freedom to establish our opinion in our life as well as in the life of our great Nation.

To whom do we owe our vote?

Our collective vote is a gift from G-d, that is to be used to accomplish the following:

  • Please G-d.
  • Enhance our national spirit and let the world know we are significant contributors to our way of life here in America.
  • Support the logic of life that comes from the Qur’an, a logic that does not take away rights but gives more freedom to the human being.

A logic that opens up the way for advancement of all citizens of our great country.

A logic that emphasizes freedom, prescribes obedience to the law of the land, opens up a clear path to success, as well as granting the individual the ability to compete.

To whom do we owe our vote?

We owe our vote to the usage of sound and good judgment. Our duty is to make sound decisions and produce good results. We want individuals who will represent our interest and our values.

Our objective is not to wait for a political party to tell us what to do with our vote. Our objective should be to let the world know how we will utilize our votes for the benefit of the whole.

We will be major contributors to the growth of America in all aspects of life – family, business, education, health, the environment, community development, economic justice, property ownership, crime prevention, prison reentry and Responsible Freedoms.

The American Coalition for Good Government offers the following as a guide and criteria in determining “To Whom do we owe our vote?”:

Belief in the Oneness of G-d and in one human family;

Support for the Constitution of the United States, the Declaration of Independence  and Universal rights for all citizens;

Belief in the sacredness of all life and family as the foundational structure of society;

Belief that as human beings, we have a sacred connection with all other life;

Belief that all human beings should be afforded education, health care and a decent place to live in accord with their economic status and opportunity for business ownership;

Belief that a just government should support the human aspirations of its citizens, and that a solely “free market economic system” is unsuitable for the majority of American Citizens.

We do not see building more prisons as the answer to crime in the various neighborhoods. We know that the Department of Justice offers solutions other than incarceration.

Belief in responsible freedoms. The United States Constitution guarantees  five basic Freedoms:

Freedom of Religion

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of the Press

Freedom to Assembly

Freedom to Petition the Government

We believe that every citizen of the United States is responsible for his or her actions. However this does not take away from the needs of the young, the elderly, the disabled, the under-employed and the miseducated.

In conclusion, Imam W.D. Mohammed stated the following: “This country belongs to me, too! I am one of the owners of the United States of America.

“And I don’t care how small my share is, I am going to recognize my share. And I am going to be responsible for my share. I am going to join the other owners, the little poor persons like me and the rich persons – the makers and the shakers.

“ I am a member in their club, whether they like it or not.” (Imam W.D. Mohammed – Having the Winning Spirit for Success” – Aug. 31, 2008, Detroit, Michigan)

To whom do we owe our vote?




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