Mr. Khan, who refers to Mr. Trump as “the bogus candidate,” says that after his convention speech and being criticized by Mr. Trump, he has received encouragement from people all over the country, who tell his wife and him that they are “testaments to the goodness of America.”
In 2008, it is unlikely that Mr. Khan would have been the star of a campaign ad or a symbol of American goodness. That year, two Muslim women in headscarves were barred from sitting behind the podium by volunteers for the Obama campaign. That shameful act was done to protect Barack Obama from the “Muslim” rumor he’s had to endure for years, one that was fanned enthusiastically by the current Republican presidential nominee.
Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, says for some Muslim voters this year, “fear is a motivator,” but for others “Islamophobia fuels us to demonstrate our political power in the face of the opposition.” In a poll, Muslims cited civil rights as the key election issue for them, next to education, the economy and a concern about harassment of Muslim students.
Khurrum Wahid, a Florida lawyer who helped found Emerge USA, a nonprofit group that encourages Muslim political engagement, explained the uptick in registration as a response to both outrage at the Republican nominee and Muslims being embraced by the Democrats.
Thanks to Mr. Trump, however, Democrats don’t need to work too hard to convince Muslim women. By suggesting that Ghazala Khan, Mr. Khan’s wife, may not have been “allowed” to speak at the Democratic convention because of her religion, Mr. Trump unintentionally prompted the creation of the American Muslim Women PAC, the first of its kind.
“Most Muslim women didn’t realize they were being viewed like that,” said Shailee Seddiq, communications director for the PAC. “They didn’t know people thought we weren’t allowed to speak.”
Seeme Gull Khan Hasan, a co-founder of the group Muslims for America, also helped found the group Muslims for Bush in 2003 and raised a significant amount of money for the 2008 McCain-Palin campaign. This year, she’s with Mrs. Clinton — “by default.”
“Muslims are almost like leprosy for Republicans, who do not want to come near us,” she said. “Even if we promise them voters. Because their base does not want them to talk to us.”
There are Muslims who support Mr. Trump too, loyal to the very candidate who demands loyalty oaths. A Virginia businessman, Sajid Tarar, started something he called American Muslims for Trump and gave the closing prayer at the Republican convention. He was booed.
Although one poll shows that Mrs. Clinton is likely to get about 70 percent of the Muslim vote, some believe she isn’t so much better than Mr. Trump, and would stand in the way of the radical change needed to improve the lives of average Juans and Muhammads. That’s why some Muslim voters I talked to are considering third-party candidates.
Tauhid Mahmud, a graduate student in New York, said he was planning to vote for the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, as a way of saying: “No, I’m not going to vote for you just because you’re not Trump. You need to earn it. ”
Mr. Wahid understands this impulse. But he wants Muslim voters to understand that lasting change has proved to be evolutionary, not revolutionary. “It takes sustained engagement and the building of pressure to move the giant cruise ship known as American policy,” he said. “Do not give up so quickly.”
It is affirming to see that eight years after America elected its first “Muslim, socialist, Kenyan” president, some people are openly embracing Muslims, rejecting bigotry and inviting us to their dinner tables to taste this strange phenomenon known as meat loaf. However, I’m not content with table scraps, pity invitations and opportunistic photo-ops. We’re speaking out, voting and throwing down. To echo Khizr Uncle, we’ll keep doing it — a million times over and over again.Continue reading the main story
An Op-Ed article on Wednesday about voting by Muslims misspelled the surname of the communications director for the American Muslim Women PAC. She is Shailee Seddiq, not Siddique.
Wajahat Saeed Khan (born 1978), is a Pakistani multimedia journalist. He has produced and anchored for Pakistan’s major networks and reported for international new channels as well as local and regional publications. Currently, Khan is reporting & producing from Islamabad for NBC News, and is the National Security Correspondent for Dunya News.
Early life and education
Khan was born in Quetta, Balochistan and was schooled at the Karachi Grammar School where he was the editor of the school magazine, The Grammarian. He majored in Political Science and History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he reported for and edited The Michigan Daily. He is also the first Pakistani to have been nominated as a fellow at Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University.
Khan's broadcast career started when electronic media was deregulated in Pakistan in the early 2000s by the regime of General (retired) Pervez Musharraf. Khan joined the country's largest media house, the Jang Group of Newspapers/Geo News, as Manager of News Product Development and Strategy before switching to news production. He was at Geo News, the country's primary cable news network, from 2003-2007. He then helped launch Dawn News in 2007 where he became the first Pakistani to produce an investigative series from India for his show "Talk Back". Khan also produced a documentary series on the Pakistani military, "We Are Soldiers", which was eventually banned by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority.
Khan was at Dawn News till 2010. He resigned from the channel when Dawn News management decided to convert the language format of the channel from English to Urdu, due to financial losses.
In 2011, Khan was nominated as a Goldsmith Fellow by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University. As the first Pakistani, and the youngest fellow, at the Shorenstein Center, Khan authored a study about the rise of militancy and hate content on Pakistani social media.
From 2012 till 2013, Khan switched languages and conducted "Ikhtilaf" ["Opposition"], an interview series on AAJ TV.
In 2013, he joined The Jang Group of Newspapers/Geo News again, but in the new capacity of the National Security Editor of Pakistan's largest media house. His writings at The News/Jang focused on the Pakistani military.
In 2015, he was appointed the Executive Vice President and Senior Anchorperson at BOL Network for a few weeks before resigning due to the Axact scandal before joining Dunya News as an Anchor for a one on one show called Mahaaz.
Khan is also the founder and editor of The Bureau of Investigative Reporting, a not-for-profit reporting collective which pursues journalism for the public benefit and covers issues normally not covered by the mainstream media in Pakistan.
Khan did a short stint for CNN in 2011-12, before moving on to produce and then correspond for NBC News from Islamabad and Kabul. This position of NBC Correspondent and producer he holds currently along with his position at Dunya News.
His first book titled "Being Shahid Afridi" is slated to come out in 2017. The book is being published by Harper Collins and is a biographical account of the life of famous Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi.
In late 2016 Khan had two articles published in India Today reflecting his take on the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff and the growing tensions between India and Pakistan. After a hiatus, Khan also delved into embarking on Urdu publications where his take on General Qamar Javed Bajwa's appointment was published in Urdu dailies such as Roznama Dunya.