Muslims Aim for Political Capital

September 1, 2008

Author: Robert King

Source: The Indianapolis Star

U.S. Rep. Andre Carson showed up Saturday night at a home in this affluent Columbus, Ohio, suburb as a candidate among strangers. He left with some of the best friends a freshman congressman could have. About 40 Muslims from Ohio and across the country came to talk with Carson, D-Indianapolis, over tacos and refried beans.

Just after sunset, with the evening sky aglow behind him, Carson stood on the patio to tell the group about the importance of Muslims being engaged in politics.

"This is a new day today," Carson said. "This is a day to be proud as Americans and as Muslims." The crowd, heavy with professionals and Ivy League grads, then opened their checkbooks for Carson's campaign to the tune of more than $10,000.

It was a fitting end to a day that might come to be seen as the moment when a new "Muslim political machine" mobilized in America.

That was how it was billed more than once Saturday in downtown Columbus, where the Plainfield-based Islamic Society of North America has been holding its 45th annual convention this weekend. Aside from looking to the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that begins today, one of the primary themes for the convention has been politics -- appropriate for an event tucked between the Democratic and Republican conventions.