My simple answer to that is a resounding YES.
No matter whether your religion is a minority religion or a majority religion. Voting, to me, is like being asked to tell the truth, as you believe it is, in a court of law. If you are asked to testify, you are supposed to be there giving your testimony.
One of many concerns about the state of the Muslim communities that I lived in in the US, is that political activism, and even political participation, is looked at with some suspicion. There is always that cloud of uncertainty whether it is OK or not - religiously speaking.
Recently, a stupid email was circulated to many St. Louis Muslims by a fringe - and in my opinion, lunatic - group making a bold statement that voting is Haram, i.e., strongly prohibited on religious basis.
What a stupid idea, and what kind of a stupid group spreads an idea like that?
To my joy, the Friday sermon given my Imam Mihajuddin Ahmed in the Weidman Mosque a little over a week ago, brought the voting issue to the forefront in the largest weekly gathering of Muslims in St. Louis.
I do not have the transcript of the sermon, but from the many friends that attended it - and were euphoric about its content and message - the sermon highlighted that it is NOT religiously forbidden to vote. He actually encouraged Muslims to vote, stressing that they need to learn about all the issues, weigh both the likely benefits and possible harms - to both the Muslim community as well as the American society as a whole - resulting from the success of one or the other parties or candidates. Then, they need to vote their conscience. He also encouraged them NOT to be 'one-issue voters'.
It is difficult to overestimate the impact of statements like that by the most significant religious figure in St. Louis Muslim community.
Traditionally, many of the Friday sermons, shy away from 'iffy' subjects. I am happy that Imam Minhajuddin broke away from that tradition. I am praying that all those who are in a position of giving Friday sermons make similar efforts to awaken the spirit political participation, activism and volunteerism in the Muslim community. Muslim will not have a real impact in the USA until they are part of the political system.
As I mentioned to a group of friends in an email "one cannot be neutral in political elections. You may not agree with one side one hundred percent. But if you do not vote, you are automatically voting for the party or candidate that you think is more harmful."
Not voting for whom you think is the least harmful, is an automatic vote for the more harmful.Do not kid yourself. There is not way to stay neutral. Whether you go to your voting precinct and cast a ballot or not, you are voting.