On Tuesday, November 7, 2006, 200 volunteers poured into the Mosque Foundation’s basement where New Americans Democracy Project Fellow Haady Taslim (a project lead by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and co-hosted by CAIR-Chicago) waited anxiously to start the day. It was Election Day and there was a buzz in the Bridgeview community, as well as other surrounding communities.

The goal was simple: to bring Muslims in the southwest suburbs in record numbers to the polls.

As a CAIR-Chicago pilot project to empower American Muslims and encourage political engagement, the NADP was a major success with a record number of Muslims not only registering to vote but turning out to the polls on Election Day. A 50 percent increase in voter turnout in the Mosque Foundation’s Area (Palos 44) was the highest the area has seen and was well above the expected turnout. Voter registrations in the area also rose by 80 percent.

In neighboring areas, voter turnout with registered Muslim voters increased significantly as well, with record turnouts in most precincts. As a non-partisan campaign, volunteers and leaders ran into some difficulties when it came to communicating with community members who insisted on being told who to vote for. Voters were given the CAIR-Chicago Voter Education Guide, which provided them with detailed information on the candidates as well as the voting records of incumbents.

For more information on the CAIR-Chicago’s political mobilization efforts, contact Sadiya Ahmed at


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