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Fremont Muslims vote for Prop 8

8 November 2008 6 Comments

By Mateen Kaul

American Muslims in Fremont backed Senator Barack Obama’s push for the Presidency, but not his advice to vote no on Prop 8.

Voters of the Muslim faith in Fremont said they were in favor of Proposition 8, the ballot measure that eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry, on the advice of their mosques and because of their traditional values.

Mosques such as the Islamic Center of Fremont urged their members to vote for Prop 8. “If there is something against the religion, then we’re going to vote in one way, particularly for Prop 8. Muslims are supposed to vote Prop 8 yes,” said Mohammad S. Akhtar, who is originally from Pakistan and is a board member at the Islamic Center of Fremont, the second largest mosque in Fremont.

Sam Saleh, a store owner who is originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, said that the prayer leader at his mosque had told members to vote yes on Prop. 8 during the Friday sermon. Muslims are supposed to pray five times a day, but Friday prayers are usually the busiest at mosques, equivalent to Sunday service at church.

Asked why he thought same-sex marriages should be banned, Saleh said: “I have children. God created one man, one woman. I can’t go against God. That’s the way I think is right and everybody in the Muslim community voted yes.”

Tariq Masood, an insurance agent originally from Pakistan, said gay marriage “should be stopped” and that God condemned nations that condoned homosexual behavior. He also suggested that homosexuality was to blame for earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Before he went out to cast his ballot on election day, Masood asked a Muslim friend over the phone for last-minute advice on whether voting yes or no on Prop. 8 meant a vote to stop same-sex marriage and was reassured in his decision.

Mimi Najati, owner of a beauty salon in Centerville who is originally from Afghanistan, said her husband, like the Muslim community in general, was against gay marriage. But she said she would have voted against Prop. 8, if she had remembered to register on time. “I’m not supporting gay marriages but if somebody likes to marry they should be given the right to do so,” she said.

“We as human beings should be given freedom of choice, nobody should be against that. It’s not our business what somebody does. It’s not going to hurt anybody so why should we be against it?”

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