REPORT: Five Mosques Used as Caucus Sites for First Time in Iowa

In a historic first, 5 mosques were used as caucus sites in Iowa. In most of the photos and videos shared online, Bernie signs and buttons were the most prolific.

AlJazeera reports four years ago, Mohamed Ali, a volunteer with the Bernie Sanders campaign, said it was hard getting those in his community to take part in caucuses in the US state of Iowa.

“They just didn’t have the confidence” or they felt uncomfortable, Ali, who is a Palestinian-American real estate agent in the Des Moines area, told Al Jazeera by phone. Others, he said, didn’t want to be involved in politics for fear of being targeted or discriminated against.

But this year participation of the Arab-Muslim community “has been huge … it’s been really amazing”, he said.

“It’s historical,” said state Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, the only Muslim state legislator in Iowa.

The mosques are joining more than 80 other locations around the world to act as a “satellite sites”, which were established this year to be more accessible and inclusive of all Iowans.

The mosques are joining more than 80 other locations around the world to act as a “satellite sites”, which were established this year to be more accessible and inclusive of all Iowans.

“Our goal has remained steadfast throughout this process – to make these caucuses the most accessible in our party’s history, and the satellite caucuses do just that,” said Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) Chair Troy Price in a statement announcing the new satellite sites.