In the late twentieth century, Muslim Americans began to more openly express an interest in participating in the American political process. In the mid 1990’s, two non-partisan political organizations, the American Muslim Caucus and the American Muslim Alliance, were formed in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Both strived to encourage the Muslim community to exercise their civic duties and participate in the political system.
After September 11, 2001, many Muslims shied away from public activism, as negative generalizations and suspicion of Muslims rose across the nation. It was a dark time for everyone. As prejudice and stereotypes flooded the media, leaders in the Muslim community realized that it was important to dispel the negativity, reemerge to perform their civic duties and promote Muslims in a positive way.
As President and Secretary of the American Muslim Caucus, Dr. Inayat Lalani and Aftab Siddiqui organized a great initiative aimed to unite Muslim Americans and urge them to become active citizens and register to vote. Along with other Muslim organizations and community members, they raised $30,000.00 to finance the Ballot Box Barbeque. On June 10, 2002, approximately ten thousand people converged on Texas Stadium for this event and 2,500 new voters were registered! Inspired and empowered, many Muslim Americans found their civic voice. A very strong voters registration program also started in San Antonio. About 500 Muslim voters were also registered the first year by Sarwat Husain. She also invited Congressman Kucinich to meet the Muslim Community of Texas. That dinner was attended by 500 local Muslims. Before the Dinner Dr. Lalani conducted a workshop on Political Participation of Muslims which was attended by a vast majority of local Muslim Youth along with adult members of community. Since then she has been holding many more Muslim Political Empowerment Workshop, voters registrations, Meet and Greet the Candidate.
In 2003, Lalani, Syed Fayyaz Hassan, and Siddiqui organized a Civil Rights Conference in which Martin Luther King, III was the keynote speaker. The success of this conference was followed by two more held in 2004 and 2005. These events helped show Muslim Americans that they are not alone in the struggle for civil rights and that they have the support of their fellow citizens in post-9/11 America.
While some members of the Muslim community began contributing to the Republican Party, increasingly more Muslims seemed to be leaning toward the Democratic Party. Already active in the Democratic Party, Lalani, Siddiqui, Syed Fayyaz Hassan, Sarwat Husain recognized the need to unify the community’s political efforts toward the Democratic Party. Dr. Lalani and Sarwat Husain proposed and facilitated a new organization.
In 2002 the Muslim Democratic Caucus of Texas was formed. Founding members of the Muslim Democratic Caucus of Texas (MDCT) include Dr. Inayat and Mrs. Salma Lalani, Dr. Zakir and Mrs. Sarwat Hussain, Aftab Siddiqui, and Syed Hassan. Past MDCT Presidents are Dr. Lalani, Sarwat Hussain, Syed Hassan and Musarrat Ali. Many members of the MDCT have participated as delegates to every Texas State Democratic Convention since 2002. MDCT has also had national delegates elected to participate in the Democratic National Conventions in 2004 and 2008. It was necessary to expand this vision nationwide and for American Muslim Democratic Caucus to have a stronger and united American Muslim political platform. We anticipate MDC chapters in every state and then select leaders and officers to represent American Muslims. At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, representing the Democratic Party, and the Director of the Obama Campaign officially welcomed the Muslim Democrats. MDCT hosted a booth that was visited by hundreds and placed Muslim Democrats on the national map. MDCTX also held a successful caucus meeting which was attended by all Muslim national delegates from across the country and was broadcast by international media. After a long journey, a national Muslim Democratic Caucus had arrived! The Muslim Caucus experience at Democratic National Convention was repeated in 2012 DNC in Charlotte NC. The consolidation of the concept and higher level participation was achieved. A doubling of Muslim national delegates from 2008 was seen in Charlotte where more than one hundred delegates from all over the nation gathered to participate in a fine American tradition of assembling to present political platforms and be recognized as important electorate segment Today, Muslim Democratic Caucus is recognized as a critical group able to tip the scales towards Democratic candidates.
2012 – 2014 Chair- Aftab Siddiqui