Muslim-American Activism: Enhanced Muslim Interest in American Politics

Article excerpt

American Muslims, estimated to number between six and eight million, continue to take credit for electing George W. Bush in the hotly contested 2000 presidential elections. They argue that, acting in accordance with the American Muslim decision to vote en bloc for Bush, the roughly 60,000 Muslim voters in Florida made the difference in the final outcome. That perception, combined with the post- 9/11 backlash against Arabs, Muslims and South Asians, has created a greater political awareness within the American Muslim community. Many have come to realize that active participation in the U.S. political process will assure them their due place in society, as has been proven by other minorities.

Regardless of how the American Muslim leadership decides to vote in the 2004 national elections, a growing community interest can be found at the state and local levels, as well. Several Muslim candidates are running or are planning to run for office at different levels across the country. One such case is that of Afeefa Syeed of the greater Washington, DC area. A mother of three and principal at a local private elementary school, she is a well-known community activist. According to the June 15 Herndon Times, a widely circulated northern Virginia weekly newspaper, "Syeed, 33, has worked with Reston Interfaith, Friends of Runnymede Park, Herndon diversity task force and assorted social services organizations. …

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