Many Muslims enjoy working with a political party. Everyone may have their reasons or personal preference to join one party or the other. That is good as long as they are keeping community objectives and priorities clearly in mind and not letting their party loyalty compel them to compromise those objectives or the Islamic principle of conduct.
From the perspective of the Muslim community as a whole, the Muslim community cannot align with or endorse a single party. There is no party in Canada that completely reflects our community’s values and principles.
For example, Party A may well represent our moral and family values, but not our social justice and foreign policy objectives. Party B may be more aligned with the Muslim community on foreign policy and social justice issues, but weak on supporting our moral and family values. In addition, the positions of Canadian political parties change over time – under pressure from interest groups and the public or as a result of changes in leadership or circumstances.
This clearly shows that as a community, we cannot align ourselves with any particular party. We need to work with all parties on an issue-by-issue basis and deal with them accordingly. We cannot endorse any party exclusive of others. This remains true even if there was an ideal party. Party affiliation cannot be a community matter. Muslims active in politics should join and work for the party of their choice, but the community as a whole cannot be aligned with any one party. Which political party or candidate to support is first and foremost an individual and independent decision to be made by each member of the Muslim community. However, it is expected that each Muslim’s endorsement of a candidate is based on the issues that are important to the well-being of Canadian Muslims and justice and peace in the world.
In deciding which political party to join or support, there are certain basic steps which Canadian Muslims would be wise to take – certain do’s and don’ts which should help us to make the wisest choice.
1. Don’t vote for or support a party just because you have always supported it or because you guess that it is going to win;
2. Don’t assume that you know what a certain party stands for – or how it relates to issues or concerns of particular relevance to the Muslim community – by simply believing what you read in the newspaper, or hear on the radio, or see on television, or are told by the critics of that party or candidate.
3. Just as many media reports on Muslims, or comments by anti-Muslim spokespersons, are inaccurate or misleading, so are many of the media reports and hostile critiques of political parties, leaders and candidates.
4. Go to source to find out what each party stands for.
- Read their literature or visit their websites for yourself to find first-hand information on the major federal parties [www.conservative.ca; www.liberal.ca; www.ndp.ca; www.blocquebecois.ca; www.greenparty.ca ]
- Invite a representative of each party to come and explain what they stand for and why Muslims should support them.
- Ask hard questions of that party representative or candidate – including questions about those aspects of their policies and platform (e.g., foreign policy, educational policy, immigration policy) which may be of particular concern to Canadian Muslims.
Thus, before aligning with any party, Muslims should individually communicate to all parties to know what they are for and what they are against, and to know why one should vote for and work with them, not just why one should not support their opponents.
However, the Muslim community as a whole must not align with any party and should collectively communicate with and discuss their views, concerns and issues with all parties.