Launched in March 2013, the Muslim Democratic Club of New York (MDCNY) is a New York City-based organization of American Muslims “dedicated to helping elect responsible Democrats to local office” and “increas[ing] the number of registered and active American Muslim Democratic voters in NYC” — thereby helping Muslims play “an influential role in the decision-making process of local and state government.” A leading board member of MDCNY is Linda Sarsour, who also co-founded the organization.
MDCNY’s focus is entirely on domestic and local issues, not foreign affairs. From the group’s inception, its two leading concerns were: (a) to prevent New York Police Department personnel from secretly surveilling Islamic mosques, businesses, and organizations suspected of promoting jihadist ideologies; and (b) to persuade the New York City Department of Education and Mayor Bill de Blasio to designate the Muslim holy days of Eid Ul-Fitr and Eid Ul-Adha as official holidays in the public-school calendar.
In February 2016, MDCNY announced that it was endorsing Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary. “His honesty, integrity, and progressive agenda are in line with the principles of our club,” said MDCNY President Murad Awawdeh.“For too long, anti-Muslim rhetoric in this election has attempted to push our communities to the margins. Our voice and vote will be felt as we activate our members throughout New York to mobilize our communities to vote for Sanders in the April primary. We also plan to volunteer remotely to provide support in the earlier primary states.” MDCNY Secretary Mohammad Khan, for his part, stated that “the Sanders campaign offers a refreshing break from the establishment politics that favor the wealthy and well-connected. For communities like ours, which have long been marginalized, we need someone with a transformative vision for change.”
In March 2016, MDCNY announced that it would protest Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s upcoming appearance at the New York State Republican Party’s Gala in Manhattan on April 14th. “MDCNY plans to mobilize our communities to protest against the hateful, bigoted, racist, and xenophobic Trump candidacy,” said Linda Sarsour. “The NYS Republican Party’s embrace of this candidate shows just how out of touch they are with the millions of Muslim, Black, Latinx, immigrant, women, and other New Yorkers who stand for inclusion and unity over fear and hatred. Their celebration of Donald Trump reinforces what we already know—the Party is only concerned with appealing to the small sliver of the population that shares this bigoted worldview.” In a similar spirit, Mohammad Khan said: “[F]or Muslims, along with Black and Latinx communities and others, the candidacy of Donald Trump represents not just the usual bad Republican politics, but a very real existential threat. His calls for banning Muslims from America, rants about lining Muslims up and shooting them, calls to deport and uproot immigrant families, and violence against Black protestors at his rallies mean that we cannot sit idly by and allow him to spread his message of hate.”
In August 2017, MDCNY held a fundraiser in support of Abdul El-Sayed, a Detroit-born Muslim American who was running for the office of governor of Michigan.
Further Reading: “New York’s First Muslim Democratic Club Launches, with a Focus on Local Issues” (Politico.com, 3-15-2013); “Muslim Democratic Club of New York” (MDCNY.org, Keywiki.org); “A Muslim Democratic Club Rises in New York” (Observer.com, 3-16-2013); “MDCNY Endorses Bernie Sanders in Democratic Presidential Primary” (MDCNY, 2-18-2016); “MDCNY to Protest Donald Trump at NYS GOP Gala” (MDCNY.org, 3-24-2016); “Muslim Democratic Club of New York Endorses Cynthia Nixon for Governor” (7-25-2018).