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US Muslims, civil rights, and the 2004 elections
September 1, 2003 11:16 AM   Subscribe

"I am an American, I am a Muslim and I vote." That was one of the themes at the Islamic Society of North America convention this weekend, and Muslim leaders, who endorsed George Bush in 2000, may be looking elsewhere as a result of the government's actions against Muslims since 9/11. There are plans to register 1 million new Muslim voters, out of an estimated 2 to 6 million population.
Until recently, the plight of the Palestinians dominated political discussion among American Muslims. But Muslim leaders say they must now be pragmatic as they seek greater influence in government.
A newly-energized U.S. Muslim population up for grabs--but would their endorsement be a liability in our current climate?
posted by amberglow (18 comments total)

 
I find the idea of a religion endorsing a candidate extremely repugnant, although living in Utah (and not being a member of The Church) probably explains that.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:50 AM on September 1, 2003


Hey here it comes - more Crusader/Infidel rhetoric!
posted by RubberHen at 11:54 AM on September 1, 2003


Its not the religion endorsing a candidate, its a community endorsing one. The muslim way of life lends itself to the formation of communities that go across ethnic/social lines. You see it all the time - community leaders getting the people in a given community to vote for a figure who has policies most amenable to their group rather than sitting on their behinds and not bothering to vote/voting for others.

Its just like the various lobbies you see around Washington, just this one is getting less apathetic now..

Speaking of lobbies, ISNA is an interesting place, will have to wander over there one of these years :)
posted by Mossy at 12:51 PM on September 1, 2003


"I am an American, I am a Muslim and I vote." - ahem. Re that last thing, y'know, the vote? Don't rub it in Bush's face, or he'll see what he can do about that :)
posted by kaemaril at 1:01 PM on September 1, 2003


"Its not the religion endorsing a candidate, its a community endorsing one. The muslim way of life lends itself to the formation of communities that go across ethnic/social lines."

The muslimCatholic way of life lends itself to the formation of communities that go across ethnic/social lines.

The muslimMormon way of life lends itself to the formation of communities that go across ethnic/social lines.

The muslimJehovah's Witness' way of life lends itself to the formation of communities that go across ethnic/social lines.

Don't kid yourself. The religious bond is first and foremost, and when religion votes as a bloc you start to blur that line of separation between church and state, and that's never a good thing.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:10 PM on September 1, 2003


The vast majority of jewish americans vote for democrats--have we established judaism as the official religion yet?

In fact, when members of religions that are not the predominant one, population-wise, get involved in politics it tends to help maintain the separation of church and state. It's when people feel that their religion should be the state religion that's the problem--see that judge in Alabama.
posted by amberglow at 1:25 PM on September 1, 2003


What amberglow said ;)

There is no centralised authority in the muslim populace anyway - 70 odd different sects will do that.

As an aside, looking at somewhere with a centralised authority, I wonder what would happen if the Pope threw his heavy backing and recommendation behind a given candidate?
posted by Mossy at 1:44 PM on September 1, 2003


"I wonder what would happen if the Pope threw his heavy backing and recommendation behind a given candidate?"

Ask William J. Dorvillier.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:49 PM on September 1, 2003


This is great! now our women might dress more modestly inst3ead of luring me into immoral thoughts...
posted by Postroad at 3:43 PM on September 1, 2003


This is great! now our women might dress more modestly inst3ead of luring me into immoral thoughts...

Burning at the stake or stoning, take your pick.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:21 PM on September 1, 2003


Imagine that, like-minded people getting organized. Why, if this keeps up, they'll be creating political parties and endorsing candidates.

Unless his Royal Shrubness decides that democracy (note small "d") is inconvenient.
posted by tommasz at 6:08 PM on September 1, 2003


Unless his Royal Shrubness decides that democracy (note small "d") is inconvenient
You mean he hasn't already?
posted by kaemaril at 6:14 PM on September 1, 2003


power to the white, overweight youth! (Currently the majority)
posted by Keyser Soze at 6:29 PM on September 1, 2003


When religion votes as a bloc you start to blur that line of separation between church and state, and that's never a good thing.

Well, that sounds a little dogmatic to me. If Mormons and Muslims get into office and pass laws saying we all have to be Mormons or Muslims, then we have a constitutional problem, since you can't pass laws establishing religion. Otherwise, if Mormons and Muslims vote for a particular candidate because they feel his or her social agenda is in keeping with their values, where is the harm? (So long as said candidate doesn't set about dismantling everyone's civil liberties, sending people off to fight wars without a declaration of war by Congress, legislating morality, and stuff like that, of course.) There's nothing in our system of government that says elected officials have to be atheists. They just need to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and so on, that's all. IMHO.
posted by hairyeyeball at 10:54 PM on September 1, 2003


but would their endorsement be a liability in our current climate?

Only if you really, really, really want the stupid, bigoted, Christianist, nationalist, jingoist vote!
posted by nofundy at 7:28 AM on September 2, 2003


you mean the green party, right nofundy? ; >
posted by amberglow at 10:11 AM on September 2, 2003


interesting oped in sunday's NYT on this.
posted by amberglow at 10:14 PM on September 6, 2003


It's kinda funny that they invited Yusuf Islam (The Artist Formerly Known as Cat Stevens) to speak at a conference that was focused on civil rights. It's like inviting Trent Lott to speak at a conference focused on race relations; sure he's got experience, just not the sort of experience you're necessarily looking for.
posted by boaz at 2:03 PM on September 7, 2003


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