Marriage Amendment Campaigns Court Minnesota Muslims



Winnie Okafor went to Tawfiq Islamic Center in north Minneapolis on Friday stumping for yes votes for the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. The Rev. Grant Stevensen was at the opposition headquarters, working with young Muslim staffers to get out the no vote.

As Minnesota's Muslim population grows, both sides of the marriage amendment debate are vying to tap their growing activism and win over an estimated 50,000 potential voters.

... At the Muslim worship center at the Somali Mall in south Minneapolis, men and women signed petitions pledging to vote for the amendment. The mothers among the worshippers tried to quiet their young children with snacks while they listened to Okafor.

As a community relations coordinator for Minnesota for Marriage, the main group campaigning for the amendment, Okafor said she has attended mosque prayer services in the Twin Cities area like the one at the Somali Mall to encourage Muslims to vote for the amendment.

"We're getting good support from them ... both from the members of these mosques and also the imams," she said. "We're getting people signing our pledge forms. It's a big deal, because you're getting the voter to think ahead to what they're going to do in November.

"I think a lot of them are really sensitive to ... what becomes of the way we can raise our children when marriage is defined contrary to something our faith holds so dear."

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