8-step guide to Muslim healthcare activism

Getting basic healthcare is rarely an issue in most industrialized and even a number of non-industrialized countries today. The United States, on the other hand, is a very different story.

Every year, close to 18,000 people in the United States die due to a lack of health insurance.

Health insurance is about ensuring that every American gets the health care s/he needs without exorbitant costs, going into debt, suffering worsening sickness and in worst case scenarios, death.

Healthcare is as vital to survival as food. It is also a need that every one of our neighbors. Yes, neighbors. Every single one of our fellow Americans is a neighbor, sharing the same nation even if we don't share the same zip code. That?s why it is vital that Muslims, who are obligated to care for their neighbors way beyond waving hello in the hallway, join the fight for healthcare for all in the United States.

Here are a couple of easy ways to get involved.

1. Familiarize yourself with the issue

Spend an hour you would normally use to surf the web or social network online to check out some of the basics of the healthcare debate and how you can get involved. While knowing the statistics is critical, understanding how dire the situation is is crucial.

2. Write a letter to your Senator or Congressperson

These leaders are paid your money to represent your interests on all kinds of issues. Write a letter expressing your concern about the lack of adequate health insurance for all Americans and find out what your Senator or Congressperson is doing about it.

3. Make a presentation to your Senator or Congressperson

Take your letter writing campaign a step further by setting up a meeting with your Senator or Congressperson to discuss the issue in person. Try to get other likeminded people in your district to work together on this and make a great presentation on this topic.

4. Write letters to the editor

There is plenty of debate in the United States about whether or not a government-run system that ensures access to medical care for all Americans is really necessary or important. Some Americans remain convinced it is either unnecessary or opening the door to greater government interference. Address this myth and clarify it through regular letters to the editor both on and offline. Especially forceful are those letters that share the harrowing tales of ordinary Americans who continue to suffer because of their lack of healthcare.

5. Join email lists on the topic

This will save you time by delivering directly to your inbox the vital and current news you need to know to properly push for this cause.

6. Recruit volunteers

Working together allows you not only to delegate critical and non-critical tasks, but it also broadens the pool of talent and skills needed to adequately advocate for health care. Someone may be great at writing letters; another person better at networking with politicians; another still organizing meetings or publicity. Work with like-minded individuals who share your vision and are willing to devote themselves to the cause.

7. Donate to organizations working on this cause

Millions of dollars are spent by lobbies that oppose the introduction of a fairer healthcare system in the U.S. Fighting back includes putting your money where your mouth is by donating to those groups who are doing the opposite. Give what you can, if possible on a monthly basis, and send a personal note to family and friends encouraging them to do the same.

8. Get your Imam to give a Khutba about it and organize other related events

Get your local Muslim community involved by first contacting its point person: the Imam. Set up a meeting like you did with your Senator/Congressperson and use the same materials. But this time, include verses of the Quran and Hadith which talk about the need to care for our neighbors and the necessity of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, as well as the duty to help those in need. Using these Islamic arguments, convince your Imam to deliver Khutbas on the healthcare debate, set up a committee in the Masjid that deals with this, and work with other faith groups that are focusing on this issue.

 

"Afghanistan GMA" by Erikch1995 - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Afghanistan_GMA.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Afghanistan_GMA.jpg

 

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