Muslims Gain Foothold in American Politics

March 23, 2006

Source: USA Today

On March 23, 2006 USA Today reported, "The 9/11 attacks have had a curious double-edged impact on the political emergence of American Muslims. They are up against more stereotyping and backlash, which they perceived recently in the furor over a Dubai company's thwarted plan to take over port operations in several U.S. cities. At the same time, the 9/11 attacks jolted Muslims into realizing that they needed to make themselves known to their neighbors and heard by their government. They are voting, running for office and getting more involved in civic and political life at every level, from PTAs and school boards to town councils and state legislatures. At least two — Texas Republicans Amir Omar and Ahmad Hassan — are running for U.S. Congress. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which promotes Muslim political activity, has opened 23 of its 31 U.S. chapters since 9/11. In the 2004 election, two studies found, one in five Muslim voters were first-time voters... This large-scale entry of Muslims into public life is not only testing the courage of Muslim candidates and the tolerance of voters. It's also prompting politicians to take notice of a community that has growing clout and is open to appeals from both parties."