From the beginning, the NPR story relies on a bunch of generalities — Islamophobia, anyone? — while failing to provide concrete details that explain or amplify the specific claims made:
In an election year filled with anti-Muslim vitriol, some mosques are urging their worshipers to vote in an attempt to make their voices heard. To do so, they're borrowing a strategy used by African-American churches and organizing "souls to the polls" campaigns.
Many mosques have traditionally shunned politics. As recently as the late 1990s, Muslim scholars were divided on the ethics of voting. For years, it was common for many Muslim-Americans to not exercise their voting rights. But this year, three of Nashville's biggest mosques are busing worshipers to the polls. The organizers say this is more about demonstrating the importance of voting than providing transportation.
Now, NPR never mentions Trump in this report — but I can't help but think "anti-Muslim vitriol" might be a reference to the Republican presidential nominee.
I kept reading, hoping to hear from some of those Muslims scholars who "as recently as the late 1990s ... were divided on the ethics of voting." The clear connotation is that the split no longer exists. If that's the case, I'd love to know why the scholars changed their position. Could it be that Trump was the trigger? How has those scholars' theological understanding evolved?
But NPR doesn't talk to any scholars or delve into theology. Instead, the media outlet quotes young voters who make vague references to parents and grandfathers who didn't believe in voting. There's an indirect mention of U.S.-born Muslims who "believe voting is a secular practice that's best avoided."
What do Muslim scholars in the U.S. say about voting — and the rightness or wrongness of it? That would be an excellent question to pursue in a story such as this. Regrettably, NPR does not.
As a result, this report — which could have been fascinating — proves rather frustrating.