Imam Horsed Noah Special to The Columbus Dispatch
Monday November 7, 2022
Horsed Noah is the outreach director of Somali Islamic Centers of Ohio, an umbrella of seven mosques, and a board member of Faith in Public Life.
Election Day is almost upon us, and as a Muslim and Columbus faith leader, I believe that all of us have a moral responsibility to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. It is our duty to make sure our elections are free, fair and safe.
We have seen lies spread and disinformation shared throughout social media leading to violence in our state. But as people of faith, we can come together and hold those who spread hate and falsehoods accountable. Throughout history, people across faiths, races, and classes have organized to make sure voting is safe and accessible for all of us, not just some.Our secretary of state in Ohio, Frank LaRose, has the responsibility to ensure no one is intimidated or threatened while voting. He must protect our sacred right to vote.
We know there are people in power, even some people of faith, who promote hateful ideas and have used violence to try and dismantle our democracy and replace it with something that does not reflect the will of the people. But we also know injustice never has the last word.
As an imam, I believe that most American values are Muslim values, too, and voting is a sacred freedom that should be accessible to all. It takes courage for someone to use their voice at the ballot box when too many in power want to make sure that voice goes unheard. Far too many of us have asked ourselves, “Does my vote even matter?”
That is exactly what those in power want us to think and feel. They want us to give up.
But voting is not where the journey to justice ends; it is where it starts. It is a necessary first step towards building healthy and safe communities in Ohio. When we use our vote, we are taking action for our family, friends and neighbors.
Whenever I vote, I think of my children and their future and how I must do all I can to help create the world they deserve. Voting is sacred because it is a way to show up for those we love. We have a responsibility to each other, and we must vote for a government that will let us make decisions that are best for ourselves and our families.
Muslims need to understand that our vote is our advocacy. We should be cognizant that civic engagement is not only important but in line with our values and duties as is understood from our Islamic traditions.
As a person of faith, I know God wants everyone to flourish and have their dignity respected. Free, fair and safe elections are the tool we can use as a community to make sure that happens.
People who use fear, hate and violence will not stop us. We will put our faith over fear, we will prevail with love and we will do it together. Please be a part of the solution and make sure your voice is heard by voting this election season, either Tuesday on Election Day or via absentee ballot.
Imam Horsed Noah is the outreach director of the Somali Islamic Centers of Ohio and a board member of Faith in Public Life.
Keeping the Faith is a column featuring the perspectives of a variety of faith leaders from the Columbus area.