News ID: 8217
Publish Date: 08 May 2012 - 22:47
Seeking more political clout ahead of the country’s election to pick up a new president, the Muslim community in California is engaging with legislators to promote their civil and electoral engagement.

"As a community that is well educated and integrated, American Muslims have an important role to play in our society's social and political fabric," Masoud Nassimi, Board Chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations California chapter (CAIR-CA) said in a press release obtained by

"It is important that members of our community engage with state lawmakers and fully participate in setting the course for a stronger California."

Themed "Muslim Day at the Capitol”, the event brought together Muslims and legislators to debate civil rights ahead of the November election.

Briefing attendants on key political issues and challenges facing US Muslim, CAIR-CA officials say the day gave Muslims the chance to make a personal connection to their legislators.

CAIR officials say this connection is important because some people are attempting to diminish the role that Muslims play in American politics.

US Muslims, estimated at between seven to eight million, have been sensing hostility in recent months.

Republican aspirants seeking to win their party nomination for this year's election have been toning up their anti-Islam rhetoric to win votes before the election.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has described Shari`ah as a "mortal threat" to the United States.

Republican aspirant Rick Santorum had also described Islamic Shari`ah as "an existential threat" to America.

He also said that the concept of equality "doesn't come from Islam" or "Eastern religions".

Recently, a Republican Missouri lawmaker described Islam as a disease like polio while another Alaska Rep. branded Muslims as ‘occupiers’ of American neighborhoods.

Election Year

The Monday’s event followed a recent report that showed Muslim voters could play a decisive role in swing states in the November presidential election.

"These are the same states where minority groups, including American Muslims, are likely to play a key role," said Santa Clara University assistant professor Farid Senzai in a recent New York Times op-ed.

In March, the Washington-based Institute for Social Policy and Understanding said that Muslim voters in Florida could a pivotal role in the November election.

Florida has an estimated 124,000 registered Muslim voters. The counties of Orange and Osceola rank high in registered Muslim voters.

In this swing state, Muslims helped elect George Bush in 2000 and Barack Obama in 2008

But some Muslim voters have complained that the anti-Islam rhetoric played by Republican hopefuls and failure of the Democratic Party to have a clear agenda on how to address Muslim values and issues are turning them away from both parties.

Seeking to empower Muslims before the November, election, CAIR has launched a campaign, "Muslim Vote", to boost political participation of American Muslims.

The campaign includes a presidential voter guide, an online voter registration tool and a video promoting online voter registration.

The campaign also encourages Muslims to volunteer in election campaigns, host candidate forums and mobilize community members to vote in the elections.


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