Democrat Khan Woo’s California South Asian
& Muslim Community
By Ras H. Siddiqui
Newark, California: The Kerry-Edwards ticket that is currently battling the incumbent Bush-Cheney team for entry into the White House through the November 2nd Polls, brought its campaign to the area South Asian and Muslim-American community on Saturday, September 18, 2004. A late lunch at the Chandni Restaurant in Newark, California arranged by local groups led by the United Muslims of America (UMA), Pakistani-American Congress and Pak PAC, gave local Pakistanis, Indians and Arab-Americans an opportunity to listen to New Jersey Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Corzine and a rising voice of Muslims & South Asians in the Democratic Party Shahid Khan (http://www.muslimsforkerry.com). Khan from Massachusetts is currently National Finance Co-Chair of the John Kerry for President Committee and is on the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
(Picture shows Senator Jon Corzine (left) and Shahid Khan address the Bay Area gathering.)
Close to 40 local leaders and curious people attended to assist in raising contributions for the Democrats and also to share their views with Senator Corzine and Shahid Khan. The main focus was on civil rights and why the Kerry-Edwards ticket should be preferred over Bush-Cheney in the upcoming Presidential elections. “I am an American first, then Republican or Democrat,” said one community member. “We need to make sure that every American is created equal.”
Shahid Khan started off by thanking everyone for coming. While appreciating the work of the host committee, he added that Senator Corzine was a friend of the South Asian community. Shahid said that we are usually too hung up on foreign policy issues but issues here need our attention especially in the civil liberties area. “This administration has not doing anything about the economy,” he said. “Getting involved in the mainstream political process is the most important thing that you can do.
Senator Corzine, the U.S. Senator from New Jersey spoke next. He is a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, Urban Affairs, Budget and Foreign Affairs Committees and a strong voice in the Senate on Homeland Security issues. He was certainly amongst friends here as Corzine spoke about his own and his party concerns on the invasive parts of the Patriot Act and his opposition to racial profiling. “I believe in an America where the bill of rights is for everyone,” he said. While opposing the premise of preventive war the Senator added that after 9/11, “we had a right to go into Afghanistan after we were attacked.” On the domestic front he said that “I hope that you will vote for John Kerry.” A number of other issues were also touched upon, especially during a follow up question and answer session. A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem was highlighted.
An informal fundraiser closed the afternoon activities.