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18 April 2019 

The Non-Mention of the “Muslim Vote”; Underlying Perceptions in US Politics


ISSUE 2 - Dec 2012

Shortly after the re-election of President Obama, an exit poll by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) showed that more than 85 percent of American Muslim voters picked the Democrat candidate Barack Obama for a second term in office. His Republican rival, Mitt Romney, recorded a meagre 4.4 percent of the Muslim vote according to the poll. As in the 2008 campaign, the “Muslim vote” did not feature in the media this time round despite the significance of Muslim voters in swing states such as Virginia and Florida. Today, there are roughly 2.6 million Muslims in the US representing about one percent of the overall population. However, Muslims make up a larger percentage of the electorate in key swing states. The non mention of the “Muslim vote” was therefore expressive once more of underlying perceptions in US politics. Indeed during this year’s round of campaigning one of the most shameful attacks on Islam appeared in the shape of the ‘Innocence of Muslims’, the blasphemous film attacking the personality of the Prophet Muhammad(s). Admittedly, the challenges faced by American Muslims are very similar to those faced by other communities and groups. In an analysis published on Al-Jazeera, Sam Bollier notes that the ailing economy and its impact on the quality of life are the “number-one issue” for Muslims. Nevertheless, it would be a gross oversight to regard the economy and growing unemployment as the only major issues affecting Muslims in the United States today. A quick skim through commentary pieces by right-wing policy analysts would be enough to establish the above. In fact, Muslims in Western Europe can easily identify the discourse emanating from those quarters, since they are themselves targets of similar Ali Jawad. ... read more