NY Times: Muslims May Swing Vote

Since then, the animosity against Muslims has only intensified. Republican presidential hopefuls Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich frequently warned that Muslims were attempting to take over the government and impose Shariah law, using “stealth Jihad,” as Gingrich put it in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute late last year.

The problem for the United States, the former speaker of the house argued, is not primarily terrorism; it is Shariah — “the heart of the enemy movement from which the terrorists spring forth.” Rick Santorum, not one to shy away from the subject, continues to conflate Muslims with radical Islamists. He has often warned audiences of the dangers of losing the war to “radical Islam,” even suggesting in a 2007 speech at the National Academic Freedom Conference that the American response to the threat should be to “educate, engage, evangelize and eradicate.”

This type of anti-Muslim rhetoric is deployed by some candidates in an apparent attempt to tap into hostility among the voters who make up the base of the party. In a sense, this approach is validated by recent polls suggesting that Republicans are more likely to have anti-Muslim sentiments. The political scientists Michael Tesler and David Sears wrote in their 2010 book, “Obama’s Race,” that feelings about Muslims are a strong predictor about feelings about Obama. They found that “general election vote choice in 2008 was more heavily influenced by feelings about Muslims than it was in either 2004 voting or in McCain-Clinton trial heats.” As we get closer to the November election, the most likely Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, will have to balance between pandering to voters on the far right of his party, some of whom are already wary of him, and more moderate voters.

While an anti-Muslim strategy may have worked in the past, it is risky because many agree that the outcome of the 2012 presidential election will probably be determined in no more than twelve states. These are the same states where minority groups, including American Muslims, are likely to play a decisive role. A report released this week by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, where I am the director of research, suggests that this community is becoming an increasingly important player in electoral politics and might well play a surprisingly important role in this year’s election.

Although it is true that American Muslims constitute a small percentage of the national population, they are concentrated in key swing states such as Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida. Despite being very diverse and far from monolithic, this constituency is growing faster than any other religious community and has become increasingly visible and sophisticated in its political engagement.

There is a huge upcoming emergence of such leaders who are ready to play the field and they have been trying their best to appear better versed equipped with the full details about their surrounding world thus making sure their role is not neglected by anyone in the political world.

Republicans who found the Muslim community an easy target in the primaries may find themselves in trouble in the states that may determine the winner of the election.

Our report examined a decade’s worth of data on American Muslim political attitudes and includes a case study of Florida, which remains a perennial tossup. In addition to the razor-thin margin in 2000, the state’s 2004 and 2008 elections were settled by less than 2% of the vote. In 2000, a few hundred votes decided the election; an estimated 60,000 Muslims in Florida voted for Bush. Florida’s Muslim population, which has been growing since the 1980s, is now estimated by some to include 124,000 registered voters. No campaigner can afford to disregard them.

The rhetorical animosity from Republican presidential candidates, coupled with the rise of Islamophobia since 9/11, has mobilized the Muslim community to engage politically. An Emerge USA poll taken during the 2010 midterm elections found that more than 60% of registered Muslim voters in Florida were likely to vote. Polls also suggest that two out of three Muslims have a strong desire for political unity and feel that they should vote as a bloc for a presidential candidate.

It seems unlikely now, but Republicans long did a good job of courting Muslim voters, including in the 2000 election when George W. Bush reached out to the community. Al Gore, on the other hand, took Muslims for granted, to his detriment. Even in the immediate aftermath of September 11th, President Bush reached out to the community and condemned attacks against Muslims, making it clear that the terrorist attacks did not represent Islam or the views of American Muslim citizens. Yet specific policies, including the passing of the Patriot Act and the decision to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, caused many Muslims to shift away from the Republican Party.

Arab-American and South Asian-American Muslims, who initially supported Bush in 2000, switched overwhelmingly to the Democratic candidate, John Kerry, in 2004. Democrats further capitalized on this support with Obama’s candidacy in 2008. President Obama, for his part, has not managed to do much better in engaging the Muslim community, never finding it politically convenient to do so and consistently distancing himself.

The growing rhetorical invocation of Islam as a scare tactic to gain votes may work in some parts of the country, but candidates could pay dearly in critical battleground states. As a first step, politicians from both parties should reach out to the American Muslim community instead of ignoring, dismissing or maligning its members. Fueling animosity against Muslims as a tactic to court votes is a risky venture. The strategy is short sighted; it could easily backfire; and in a pluralistic society that prides itself on tolerance and religious freedom, encouraging this type of animosity towards a particular group is un-American.

Farid Senzai is assistant professor of political science at Santa Clara University and director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

EMERGE USA EVENTS

Emerge USA Training at ISNA East Zone Conference

We have many responsibilities in our life and we have to fulfill them to live a blessed life. It is not just about bringing you in life that matters a lot. It is also not about grooming your family that holds an important place in your life. It is just about how you respect your society in the long run that makes you very happy and satisfied in your life. When you serve the nation well, you seem to add a lot of meaning to your life by valuing your relationship. This is important in several aspects that we necessarily to not pay attention to in our regular life. But, how do we start to do this?

Education is the only platform that you get to start everything. It is the basic knowledge that we inherit makes life very simple and sensible at the same time. When you get well educated, you seem to take good decisions at the right time. The decisions will be very sharp and to the necessity at all times. Well informed decisions will take good turns in life that we may not expect. It reaps positive scenarios and let us be happy. But, it is not always possible to get everything that is required from the educational institutions. This is a true reality.

This happens because of the lack of time and the prescribed completion of subjects that are necessary to be covered during the time allotted. Never to worry, we always have good events organized by a reputed team exclusively to serve this purpose. Get more info here so that you can invest less time searching. We will have to make the best use of them by researching what suits us better. It is important that we learn about politics and the ways in which it will affect society. We also have to work on the leadership qualities without which we cannot sustain in this world. The leaders of tomorrow have to be built today. We should thus understand the importance and work hard in this direction to serve better in life.

Event date:January 08, 2011 04:30 PM
Event end date:January 08, 2011 05:45 PM
Individual Price:Free
Join Emerge for our training at the ISNA East Zone Conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL at the Broward County Convention Center located at 1950 Eisenhower Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316.  The session will focus on how to best communicate with your elected officials.

Annual Fundraising Banquet:

Event date:May 07, 2011 06:30 PM
Event end date:May 07, 2011 09:30 PM
Individual Price:$40.00
Join us on May 7, 2011 for our annual fundraising banquet.  The theme of the event will be, “A Call for Civility: Moderating Politics to Combat Islamophobia” and our keynote speaker for the event will be former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham.  Tickets are $35 per person.

Emerge 2012 Annual Banquet: Investing in Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

Event date:April 21, 2012 07:00 PM
Individual Price:$50.00

Emerge USA will be holding its annual banquet on April 21, 2012 at the Marriott Fort Lauderdale North.  The theme of the banquet is “Investing in Tomorrow’s Leaders Today” with Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin of Teaneck, NJ and Comedian Ahmed Ahmed.  Registration is at 7pm and doors open at 7:30pm.  Hallal dinner will be served and childcare will be

Emerge 2012 Annual Banquet: Investing in Tomorrow’s Leaders Today (Student Price)

Event date:April 21, 2012 07:00 PM
Individual Price:$35.00

Emerge USA will be holding its annual banquet on April 21, 2012 at the Marriott Fort Lauderdale North.  The theme of the banquet is “Investing in Tomorrow’s Leaders Today” with Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin of Teaneck, NJ and comedian Ahmed Ahmed.  Registration is at 7pm and doors open at 7:30pm.  Hallal dinner will be served and childcare will be available.

Emerging Data

EMERGE has created a database of under-represented ethnic communities in Florida with a focus on registered voters from the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian American communities.

EMERGE communicates with this database on a regular basis through live and automated polling and collects data on voter trends and issues that drive these communities to the polls.EMERGE Data
Click here to see where Florida’s Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities reside.This data is then presented to elected officials and candidates to help them better understand these communities.  Emerge leadership travels around the state and uses this data to present information about the Muslim, Arab and South Asian American communities to local elected officials.

Muslims are a community in the United States that is the most talked about. Unfortunately, very few understand them. Islam has been put into the center of making policies and there have been claims about how this community is spoiling the Americans lives. The truth is that since this community is so small not a lot has been studied about their religion, their leaning’s towards politics and how they have engaged with the American culture.

This is a community that is changing. the American Muslims are more liberal and young than their neighbors. They are religious and they are also keenly curious about what is going on in America. The community has grown in the last few years and they today make up more than a percent of the entire population of the United States.

Thegovernmenttodayhave put up many hostile claimsinIslam and this is why the Muslims prefer the earlier government more.

Muslims in America have undergone a political awakening and most of them contribute mosques or to the civic organizations. There is discrimination based on race and religion and most of them complain of racial bias. This is particularly experienced more by the young generation.

The Muslims are diverse racially and the attitude that they have towards politics and race and the discrimination meted out to them is mostly in line with the other ethnicities in America.

The young Muslims in the majority are born in theUnited States but many of them are immigrants into the United States. They are not connected with any religious institutions but they affirm the role and the importance of religion.

Why not try this out to know more about the political inclination and the issues faced by the American Muslims.

The content of these presentations includes where these communities are from, the issues that are important to them and mechanisms to outreach and communicate with these communities.EMERGE-USA