Muslims are believed to be under-represented among Fairfax County voters, but outreach efforts by Democratic Party candidates for local office aim to change that equation.
The latest such effort took place Saturday, Feb. 16, at Dar al Hijrah Mosque in Mason District, where three school board candidates met with Muslim community members to describe the workings of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC) and urge membership.
Abrar Omeish, candidate for an at-large seat, and Jessica Swanson, Mason District candidate, addressed the audience and took questions while Jung Byun, Providence District candidate, also attended the event and mingled with participants.
“I’m excited to learn about how I can contribute to the party,” said participant Maura Yasin, who has volunteered in campaigns since the candidacy of Barack Obama but only recently became an FCDC member.
According to Omeish, Muslims are estimated at about 10% of the county’s population but only 4% of registered voters. While some are ineligible to become voters, she estimates that Muslims would account for at least 1-2% more of the electorate if all eligible voters registered.
“We cannot be sincere about engaging other communities without meeting them where they are and bringing information to them,” she said. “This is only one step in a lot of work that needs to be done to intentionally and proactively encourage participation from all kinds of underrepresented groups.”
Photo: Abrar Omeish (L) and Jessica Swanson (at mic) speak to Muslim community members at Dar al Hijrah Mosque about the role of the Democratic Party/ Photo and story by Amin Islam