Campaigners target British Muslims as decisive group in referendum
Millions of British Muslims will be urged to register to vote in the EU referendum by their imams on Friday in a move that could be decisive for the Remain campaign.
The British Muslim Forum (BMF) has supported the #TurnUp campaign to register young voters and asked hundreds of imams to include a message about the EU in their sermons at Friday prayers.
Polls have indicated Muslims are disproportionately in favour of Remain, unlike the majority of Christians. Sikhs are the only religious group more pro-EU than Muslims, according to a poll by Populus in February.
On top of that half of Britain's 2.7 million Muslims are under 25, an age group overwhelmingly in favour of the EU.
Young people are twice as likely not to be registered to vote as the rest of the population and their turnout is seen as a key factor in an increasingly close poll.
"This is a once in a generation opportunity for people to directly decide the future of the country," said Qari Asim, chief imam of Leeds Makkah Masjid.
"There's no doubt the repercussions of this historic vote will be felt for many years so let the result of EU referendum be down to choice, and not the by-product of apathy. I urge all British Muslims to register to vote by 7 June.
"It's vital that voices of British Muslims are heard in this EU referendum. As British Muslims, we must play our part inthis referendum debate, vote on 23 June and shape the future of our country together."
The #TurnUp campaign is run by the anti-racist group HOPE not hate and youth charity Bite the Ballot. It has been supported by Eddie Izzard and the CBI, both of whom have openly supported Remain.
The campaign will also promote up to 50 'democracy cafes' at Starbucks outlets nationwide to help young people debate issues around the referendum. It aims to register 500,000 young people to vote before the deadline on June 7.
HOPE not hate's deputy director, Jemma Levene, said: "It's crucial to register to vote by the 7 June deadline, and then take time to find out about the key issues, before turning out to vote. We want every part of British society to have their voices heard on 23 June and we want to know we've helped give a voice to all, not just a few."
Unsure whether you are registered? To make sure, you can register to vote here.