Islam and the 2012 Election–Final Project, Sara Judd

Posted on December 8, 2012 by


Muslims and the 2012 Election- Analysis

Americans on Muslims—Muslims on Americans

58% of Americans, as of 2009, believe that Muslims are still experiencing “a lot” of discrimination.  In 2011, 47% of Americans surveyed believe that the Muslim religion is incompatible with American values. Looking at these statistics I think to myself, why? Prior to the travesty on September 11th, Americans had very little knowledge of the Muslim population, or its’ existence, and really were not interested in learning more. Now, we live in a society where a good majority are Islamaphobic and are quite vocal about why everyone else should be too. Assuming that every Muslim is a threat to our domestic safety, we as Americans, should come to learn that not every Muslim is a extremists like the ones involved in September 11th. We should also remind ourselves that many Muslims-Americans were affected by the attacks too and in return they were made the villain in their own country.  When surveyed, just over a third of Muslims-Americans believed that Americans have started to become more respectful of their culture. However; the majority are still disrespectful and intolerance of their culture and religion. While not condoning it, I can see why in the immediate years post 9/11 Americans would not be tolerant of this culture they know nothing about especially because in the name of their religion these people attacked our country. However, now that it has been more than ten years since that day our country has learned that the religion as a whole did not condone the attacks and it was only a small group of extremists. I don’t know if it is Americans being naive, stubborn, or just incapable of accepting others but we should know that you cannot judge a group of people based on a small fraction.


Americans Belief Obama is Muslim—Muslim’s on an Obama re-election

There are several Americans that still believe that Obama is secretly a Muslim despite the repeated attempts to teach that he is, in fact a Christian. 16% of Americans surveyed believed he was a Muslim, with 65% of those people finding that to be unacceptable as a United States president. Only 49% could identify Obama as a Christian. Many of the people that believe Obama is a Muslim due to a supposed Arabic inscription on his wedding ring and because Obama has quoted the Qur’an in more than one occasion. To me, this sounds like people’s desperate attempt to make Obama out to be something he is not. Not everyone accepts Obama’s accepting attitude and his belief that Muslims should too (just as EVERYONE else) feel comfortable living in their own country.

It is the accepting attitude that Muslims predominately vote for Obama. It is no secret that close to 100% voted Obama in 2008 and it has been projected that 91% once again in 2012. Muslims popularly agree with Obama’s social programs including the open criticism of Israeli policies that are promoting illegal settlements and his favoring position of most Arab Spring democratization movements. Obama also has promises to abandon war in Muslim countries.

One issue highly criticized by Muslims is the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act. Muslims cannot understand how being the first African American president and how gaining acceptance was not an easy feat for him that he could still pass something that makes another minority group have slimmer access to civil rights. Despite this negative aspect, Muslims still have an overwhelming support for Obama.


Republican Ignorance of Muslims—Muslim Brotherhood

It is a popular opinion that the Republican Party is made up of Islamaphobics. In fact, in a survey 57% of Republicans reported having a negative view of Muslims/Arabs. Of that 57%, 60% reported not personally knowing a Muslim. This year at the Republican National Convention nearly every religious affiliation possible was invited to pray except the Muslim-American community. Not only were they ignored at the national convention, but throughout the entire election the Republican Party appeared to be avoiding the community as best as they could. Unfortunately for the Republican Party this may have been a mistake as areas with a predominant Muslim population are also important swing states. Had the party put any effort into influencing the votes the outcome in swing states such as Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina, more votes could have been gained. It is also worth mentioning that several articles believe the Democratic Party also tip-toed around the Muslim-American community proving that both parties know the influence of interacting with the Muslims in America has on many Americans.

It is also interesting that prior to 9/11 Muslims were looked at as predominately Republican. Similar views were held on social issues including gun control, tax raises, abortion, and gay marriage. No that the GOP has brought in a tougher foreign policy and a poorer treatment of Muslims, a massive shift to the Democratic side has been noted. In 2012 an estimate 7% of Muslim’s voted for Romney. This is a pretty significant change for a community that has previously been Republican. But when you have hopeful presidential candidates, such as Herman Caine (a former 2012 Republican nominee hopeful), saying that if elected he would not allow anyone of the Muslim religion into his cabinet it is understandable.

Another notable Republican highly criticizing the Muslim-Americans is Michele Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota. Bachmann and four other Republican members of congress co-authored five letters to different security centered agencies in the United States government (ie. Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense) demanding an investigation into the infiltration of the United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood. She has been quoted saying that “there has been deep penetration in the hall of our US government by the Muslim Brotherhood” and that the Muslim Brotherhood are “co-conspirators in terroristic activities” The group of congress people have some belief that President Obama has allowed people with strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood to work within the government. Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was singled out with claims that she has three family members closely related to the Muslim Brotherhood and basically implying that she is passing information along to them saying she has “taken actions recently that have been enormously favorable to Muslim Brotherhood and it’s interests”. While many people reject these ideas, there are many people that strongly believe this is happening within our government system.

More than anything this sounds like a conspiracy theory to me. When asked for sources of information for these claims Bachmann said their main source was Frank Gaffrey, of the Center for Security Policy. Gaffrey is a long time believer that Muslims are trying to enforce Shariah law in the US government. In a several piece documentary by Gaffrey titled “Muslim Brotherhood in America” Gaffrey (VERY dryly I will mention) discussed his background and why he believes all of this to be true. I viewed a portion of this and I do not find his arguments all that valid and believe he sounds like nothing more than someone who has been working with security too long and has become paranoid. I guess I will kick myself if years down the road he turns out to be right.

Link to Muslim Brotherhood documentary part 1:

Muslim Political Rise

The American-Muslim communities despite the discrimination they face in our country have become a rising power in the political system. Many congress people have been making anti-Islamic statements and been highly Islamaphobic during their terms. In Illinois, Tammy Duckworth defeated Joe Walsh (R). Walsh, during a town hall meeting, announced that he was willing to stand in the face of danger of Islam and that he believed radical Islam was here in America. Shortly after these acquisitions a nearby mosque was shot at and an Islamic school was firebombed. In Florida Republic Adam West was defeated after saying Islam was a “totalitarian theocratic political ideology” and “very vile and a very vicious enemy”. He even accused a Minnesota congressman, a Muslim, Keith Ellison, for representing the antithesis of principles upon which this country was founded. Several other anti-Islamic congress people were defeated in their re-elections in 2012. This is showing great strides in the American public sending the message that we no longer will tolerate the explicit hate against an individual religious community the way they did. The Muslim-American community truly stepped up this election to have their voices heard on opinions that affect them; having leaders that are islamaphobic being one of them.

Muslims on the Election

Muslim-Americans seem to be much more informed in this election and want their voices to be heard. 91% of American-Muslims voted in 2012, an overwhelming majority. Muslims believe in voting for someone that is going to do the best job and represent the people the best regardless of race, gender, religion, or culture. As long as the candidate is trustworthy and the most qualified, they are the right candidate. Throughout the Qur’an verses can be read regarding this standpoint. Muslim-Americans are also more interested in domestic policy than foreign policy, which I think many would believe to be the opposite. Many anti-Islamists believe that Muslims in America are concerned with the American government becoming more like Muslim countries and bringing their Shariah law into our system.

This election Muslims voted in large majority (66%) for Obama. The support for Obama has decreased since the 2008 election and only time will tell what happens through this term. I would suggest to the Republican Party to try becoming more receptive to the American-Muslims. If this population was once on their side (pre-9/11) maybe one day they will be again.

To the Muslim communities in America I would recommend furthering their political activism to become a larger voice. With an estimated nearly 7 million American-Muslims their voice could be largely considered. Encouraging the younger generations of American-Muslims to become more involved is an effective gateway into the political realm. I believe that young adults can help form the minds of new generations to come and rid the country of the older, overly conservative views.


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