UK PM criticised for holding a snap election during Ramadan
Some British Muslims aren’t happy that UK voters are being asked to go to the polls for a general election in the middle Ramadan, according to Rushanara Ali, above, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in London.
Prime Minister Theresa May has been accused of not taking Muslim voters into account by calling for an election on June 8. Ramandan takes place between May 26 and June 24.
The fact that the general election will fall in the middle of Ramadan is not ideal. Holding an election during Ramadan means there could be a disproportionate effect on voter turnout in those constituencies with a sizeable Muslim population.
If anyone thinks that their ability to go and vote will be affected, I urge them to register for a postal vote.
Labour’s Yasmin Qureshi, MP for Bolton South East, above, added:
It is unfortunate that Theresa May has scheduled the election to take place during the holy month of Ramadan. I know this will present challenges to Muslim voters and those who wish to campaign. At best I can only suggest that this did not even feature in her thinking, which is disappointing.
It may be that the election falling during Ramadan reduces turnout among Muslims.
SNP MSP Humza Yousaf, the Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands, also voiced fears that fewer Muslims will vote, adding that:
You can never really hold an election at a perfect time. I think it would be fair to say that a lot of people in the Muslim community feel that they were certainly not even factored at all into the conversation or the thinking because it will have an impact, I suspect, on turnout.
However, the Muslim Council of Britain said it could see “no reason” why holding the election during Ramadan should have any impact on Muslims turning up to vote. The group added:
There is probably more ‘voter fatigue’ generally across the country following the extensive recent campaigns in the lead-up to the 2015 general election and the 2016 EU Referendum.
Muslims fasting during Ramadan will go about their normal daily activities and taking time out to cast a vote will have no impact on their choice to do so.
Sayed Yousif Al-Khoei OBE, chairman of the Al-Khoei Foundation, a Shi’a Muslim organisation, said:
In general, Ramadan and fasting is not supposed to impede normal life. It’s supposed to be a spiritual experience. But for some people, you know, the combination of the hot weather … and lack of foods could be an impediment.
But the spiritual uplifting of fasting should really make a Muslim more resilient and that should not really be a pretext for not voting, and I encourage everyone to use their right to vote.
Of course some Muslims believe that it matters not a jot when elections are held, because taking part in the democratic process goes against the wishes of Allah.
A poll in 2010 run by Muslims against Voting shows that more than 53 percent of British Muslims said that they would not vote because:
I want to remain Muslim, and Allah is the only Legislator.
More than 44 percent said they would vote because:
My way of life is democracy, and I want to take Allahs (sic) name and give it to man, making me a Kaafir.