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CAIR COMMUNITY ALERT: U.S. Islamic Religious Leaders Urged to Promote ‘National Muslim Census Day’ During Friday Online Sermons

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/1/20) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, is calling on imams (Islamic religious leaders) nationwide to use their Friday online sermons (khutbas) to remind American Muslims to complete the 2020 U.S. Census online, by phone, or mail. 

[NOTE: Public communal Friday prayers have been canceled nationwide, but many imams, mosques and Muslim community centers are broadcasting Islamic lectures and sermons online.]

In February, the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) declared that Friday, April 3, is “National Muslim Census Day.” Today, April 1, is “National Census Day,” when every American home will have received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.

“We urge Muslim community and religious leaders to promote National Muslim Census Day during their Friday online sermons (khutbas) and lectures. With people spending more time at home because of the coronavirus – now is the best time to be reminded that the U.S. Census can be completed from home online, by phone or by mail,” said CAIR Director of Government Affairs Robert S. McCaw.

To assist those preparing community announcements for National Muslim Census Day, USCMO and its national and state members are distributing talking points about the importance of Muslims participating in the U.S. Census. National Muslim Census Day is a project of USCMO, its members, as well as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the California chapter of CAIR.

National Muslim Census Day Community Reminder Talking Points:

  • Today is National Muslim Census Day. National Census Day took place this week on Wednesday, April 1, because by then every American household will have received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. That is why mosques and Islamic centers across the country are declaring the following Friday – traditionally the day of Jummah – “National Muslim Census Day” – to remind the Muslim community about the importance of completing the U.S. Census online, by phone, or mail. By May, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin following up with households that have not responded.
  • What is the U.S. Census? Every 10 years, the U.S. government is required by the U.S. Constitution to count every person where they live. This is done through our filling out a form with about 10 questions that should take less than 10 minutes to complete. 
    • This year’s Census began online in March with digital forms that can easily be filled out. You can also now complete the Census online, by phone, or mail, whichever one is the most convenient for you. For more information, go to: www.2020census.gov
    • Only one response form is needed for every Household address – the Census counts everyone living at that address.
    • The Census also carries out special outreach to reach people who are unhoused, incarcerated, or in other situations.
    • For those addresses that don’t respond, uniformed Census workers may go to the residence to collect the information.
    • There are also language guides and other tools for people whose first language is not English. Census language guides come in Arabic, Bengali, Bosnian, Burmese, Farsi, Hindi, Indonesian, Malayalam, Somali, Turkish, Urdu, and more.
  • What does the Census ask? The Census asks questions about race, age, gender, and relationships to other residents at the address.
    • The Census does not ask questions about your citizenship status.
    • The Census Bureau will never ask for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers, or money or donations.
    • Every Census employee takes an oath to protect your personal information for life.
  • What does the government do with this information? Census responses are used to fairly distribute government funding for schools, roads, housing, health and other public needs. It also informs how Congressional seats are allocated across the 50 states.
    • Everyone can and must fill out the Census – it’s the law and it applies to everyone regardless of immigration status.
    • There are legal protections over our census data – which you can learn more about from civil rights organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). 
  • What is at stake? If Muslims aren’t counted, we lose our fair share of funding and political representation.
    • Census data also helps determine how more than $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to states and communities in the form of public assistance like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), health, education, transportation, disaster recovery, and much more. Faith-based organizations and institutions can also use census data to apply for grants.
    • That’s why participating in the Census goes beyond one person or one household or family.
    • As a community, we must ensure that that not only are American Muslim communities being fairly counted – but that our neighborhoods are getting a fair share of federal and state funding.
    • It’s an opportunity for those who are unable to vote to be represented.
    • Even though government services and representatives don’t always fulfill our needs, by counting ourselves in the Census, we are sending a message that we demand to be seen and included. 
    • By counting ourselves in, we’re demonstrating that we expect the government to work for us.
    • Counting ourselves in means standing up for our rights and freedoms as people who reside in this country – including the right to have our votes be counted, and to be free from hate and discrimination. 
    • In the past, minorities or other underrepresented communities have been under-counted because of insufficient outreach by the Census Bureau. Today, we must act to ensure that we, our family and friends, neighbors, and coworkers all know about the Census and are counted. 

USCMO is a coalition of several leading national and local Muslim organizations that seeks to promote effective communication and coordination between all American Muslim organizations and sponsor Muslim civic engagement for the good of the nation.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

END

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Government Affairs Department Director Robert McCaw, 202-999-8292, rmccaw@cair.com 

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