By Abdus-Sattar Ghazali/opednews.com
(Article changed on November 10, 2012 at 12:46)
More than 85 percent of American Muslim voters picked President Obama in Tuesday’s election, according to an exit poll released Friday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.
It may be recalled that a similar CAIR exit poll in 2008 showed that 89 percent of American Muslim voters picked then-candidate Barack Obama. Two percent of respondents said they voted for Sen. John McCain.
The CAIR’s informal survey of more than 650 American Muslim voters indicates that just four percent of respondents cast their ballots for the Republican presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney.
The Poll findings indicated that 95.5 of the registered Muslim voters went to the polls on November 6.
85.7 percent cast their ballots to re-elect President Obama while only 4.4 percent of respondents said they voted for Mitt Romney.
Just over two percent (2.2) of respondents said they voted for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson while the same percentage (2.2) voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
According to the poll, states with the highest number of survey respondents (in descending order) were California, New York, Texas, Virginia, Illinois, Florida, Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio.
On the party affiliation, the poll found 41.5 percent considered themselves Democrats. A similar number, 40.6 percent, consider themselves politically independent. Only 7.4 percent said they are Republican.
“The fact that more than 95 percent of Muslim respondents went to the polls is a clear indication that they are fully participating in our nation’s political process and are part of the fabric of America,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad . “Muslim voters in swing states such as Florida, Virginia and Ohio seemed to have played a critical role in tipping the balance in the president’s re-election victory.”
A pre-election CAIR survey released on October 24, 2012 indicated that at least 25 percent of American Muslim registered voters were still undecided about who to vote for in the presidential election. The survey also indicated that 91 percent of registered Muslim voters will go to the polls on Nov. 6.
“It appears that undecided Muslim voters broke decisively in President Obama’s favor at the polls,” said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. Saylor also expressed appreciation that a number of anti-Muslim candidates were rejected by voters nationwide.
Rejection of Islamophobes delights American Muslims
The seven-million strong American Muslim community has welcomed the rejection of Islamophobic candidates by voters in Tuesday’s election.
In Florida, Republican Representative Allen West lost to his Democrat challenger Patrick Murphy. West has once described Islam as a “totalitarian theocratic political ideology” that is a “very vile and very vicious enemy”. In June 2011, West brought a Florida organization called Citizens for National Security to a congressional building to accuse thousands of American Muslims of being part of a “fifth column” based on innuendo about the Muslim Brotherhood.
Another Florida Islamophobic lawmaker, Republican Adam Hasner, was defeated in his bid for Congress. Hasner is known for championing events to taint the image of Muslims. In 2009, he sought to block a day, “Florida Muslim Capitol Day”, that marks Muslim achievements. In 2007, he sponsored a screening of the anti-Muslim film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” for state legislators.
A third Florida anti-Muslim candidate, Terry Kemple, lost his bid for the Hillsborough County School Board. Kemple’s main issue in the race was seeking to keep Muslim speakers out of local schools.
In Illinois, Rep. Joe Walsh (R) was defeated in his re-election bid. Earlier this year, when a town hall meeting attendee told him that he was “looking for some godly men and women in the Senate, in the Congress, who will stand in the face of the danger of Islam,” Walsh left the door open for suspicion of every Muslim living in Illinois when he responded saying radical Islam is more of a threat “now that it was right after 9/11” and “It’s here. It’s in Elk Grove. It’s in Addison. It’s in Elgin. It’s here.”
In Arkansas, Rep. James McLean defeated Republican Charlie Fuqua, a candidate who advocated the deportation of all Muslims in a self-published book.
In Minnesota, Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) lost his seat. Cravaack was a key supporter’s of Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) series of anti-Muslim hearings.
“These encouraging results clearly show that mainstream Americans reject anti-Muslim bigotry by candidates for public office and will demonstrate that rejection at the polls,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad . “This election witnessed an increased political awareness and mobilization effort among American Muslims that dealt a major blow to the Islamophobia machine.”
Awad noted that Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann, who recently led a witch hunt against Muslims serving in the government, only retained her House seat by a very narrow margin.
Dr. Agha Saeed, national chairman of the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) said while giving full credit to local leaders, he would like to emphasize the significance of “an overarching narrative conveying a national perspective aimed at building and mobilizing a US-wide coalition against Islamophobia.” He added that moral of the story is: Politics of hate can be defeated by taking a clear stand against the bigots and by building coalitions with fellow Americans.
Bad Night for Congress’ Anti-Islam Caucus
Spencer Ackerman of wired.com wrote that it was a bad night for Congress’ anti-Islam caucus. “A congressman who routinely accused American Muslims of being enemies of the United States looks likely to go down in defeat. Another, a former presidential candidate who warned of a wide-ranging Islamic conspiracy to undermine the government, barely won reelection. A third, who espoused the same conspiracy, opted not to run. It’s not been the greatest night for Congress’ anti-Islam caucus” Ackerman said.
However, Ackerman pointed out that while West may have lost but another Islamophobe, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) didn’t. Bachmann is likely to remain a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Ackerman adds: “Bachmann won re-election with just 3,000 votes out of 350,000, months after she abandoned a presidential bid that brought her national fame. It also brought opprobrium for Bachmann’s own anti-Muslim theories. In June, Bachmann accused an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of being part of a Muslim Brotherhood plot to infiltrate and undermine the government, based solely on the associations of the aide’s family members. John McCain and other prominent Republicans denounced Bachmann for it.”
Ackerman was of the view that one of the leaders of the anti-Islam movement, Robert Spencer, was in a dark mood following Tuesday’s election. “The official denial about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat will continue, with training material for the FBI and Department of Homeland Security required to retail politically correct fictions about Islam,” Robert Spencer wrote. “This will leave the nation in ever-increasing danger of being blindsided by a jihad attack that could have been prevented had a willful ignorance about the motives and goals of jihadists not been enforced by officials at the highest level.”
Once, Spencer had attention-grabbing advocates in Congress to support these views, Ackerman said adding, “Today, those ranks are a bit thinner — while the bete noire of the Sharia panic crowd, Barack Obama, gets ready for another four years in the White House. The lonely crusade of the anti-Islam set just got a little lonelier.”
Two Muslim Congressmen were re-elected in Tuesday’s election. They are: Keith Maurice Ellison from Minnesota and AndrÃ© D. Carson from Indiana.
Keith Maurice is a Democratic member of the House of Representatives representing Minnesota’s 5th congressional district. Ellison, first elected to the House in 2006, was the first Muslim elected to the House of Representatives.
AndrÃ© D. Carson is the congressman for Indiana’s 7th congressional district, serving since the special election in 2008. Carson, a member of the Democratic Party, is the grandson of his predecessor, former U.S. Representative Julia Carson (1938–2007).
Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American
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