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#MyMuslimVote lets Muslims speak for themselves — finally

Their lives are bigger than the Islamophobia that plagued the campaign season.

A Muslim-American woman attends a voter registration workshop during the 53rd annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America on September 3, 2016 in Rosemont, Illinois.
Derek Henkle/AFP/Getty Images

On Election Day, Muslim Americans used social media to paint a picture of their values and priorities that provided a much-needed contrast to the oversimplified and often bigoted narratives that dominated the campaign cycle.

Under the hashtag #MyMuslimVote, they shared polling place selfies and images of “I Voted” stickers, accompanied with statements of hopes for what their votes would accomplish.

It was started by MyMuslimVote, a campaign focused on uplifting the voices of Muslim voters in the 2016 election cycle.

Its website urges voters to seize the attention placed on the experiences and views of Muslims after Donald Trump’s proposed “Muslim ban” and his Islamophobic criticisms of Army Capt. Humayun Khan’s family. “There's never been an election cycle that's been more focused on Muslims, Islam, and Muslim communities,” the website says. “But our own voices have been left out of the conversation — until now. “

The result: a barrage of tweets yearning for a country free of bias, hate, and discrimination against Muslims. But also a realistic depiction of a much broader and more diverse set of priorities: affordable college, civil rights for all oppressed communities, jobs, and a peaceful foreign policy.

As one user put it, “#Islamophobia is a real concern, but #MyMuslimVote is about more: education, the environment, jobs, Black Lives Matter are all my issues.”

There shouldn’t be a need for a reminder that Muslims have lives outside of being partners in preventing terrorism and have hopes for the country beyond curbing Islamophobia. Unfortunately, after a campaign season full of public debates that tended to flatten Muslims into potential threats on one hand, or victims of discrimination the other, there is.