Muslims Look to 2000: Although Few in Number and New to the Political Game, American Muslims Are Organizing with the Intent of Influencing the Next Election -- and Gaining What They Believe Is Long-Overdue Respect. (Religion)

By Witham, Larry | Insight on the News, June 21, 1999 | Go to article overview

Muslims Look to 2000: Although Few in Number and New to the Political Game, American Muslims Are Organizing with the Intent of Influencing the Next Election -- and Gaining What They Believe Is Long-Overdue Respect. (Religion)


Witham, Larry, Insight on the News


Muslims will show their voting power and policy concerns in 2000, according to the American Muslim Political Coordinating Council, which announced its formation at a recent Washington conference of the American Muslim Council.

"There wasn't a single large mosque in California that did not participate in voter registration in 1998," says Agha Saeed, president of the American Muslim Alliance. "There has been a tremendous institutional change."

According to Saeed, the council is working to develop a coherent strategy for 2000 that will appeal to the estimated 6 million Muslims and 2 million Arabs who are U.S. citizens. The council also is lobbying for more government policy positions for Muslims and Arabs.

During the American Muslim Council's four-day meeting in the nation's capital, Muslim leaders met with notables such as National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, Hadi Nejad Hosseinian, was slated to appear at a forum on U.S.-Iran relations, but the State Department rescinded his permission to travel to the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel in Northern Virginia, venue of the convention. The Clinton administration changed its mind under pressure from U.S. groups that believe normalized relations with Iran threatens Israel, according to Anisa Abdel Fattah, host for the canceled forum. "It's not American for one group to shut down the event of another group," she says. …

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