Muslim-American groups and organizations across the United States are mobilizing in an effort to take down GOP front-runners Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz through voter registration drives.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Circle of North America and the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations are rallying Muslim-Americans to turn mosques into voter registration centers, according to the New York Times.
What’s more, these groups have set a goal to register one million new Muslim-American voters and will be targeting swing states that heavily influence the general election.
The call to action follows Trump and Cruz doubling down on proposals to ban Muslims from entering the United States and to patrol and police predominately Muslim neighborhoods in an effort to combat radical Islamic terrorism.
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Leaders within the Muslim-American community cited anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail as the impetus behind the registration drives, the Times said. “The best answer to this anti-Muslim rhetoric is engagement in the political process,” said Naeem Baig, the president of the Islamic Circle of North America. “It is a matter of survival for the American Muslim community.”
Recently, Trump has also doubled down on comments regarding Islam and its attitude toward America. “I think Islam hates us,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in early March. The GOP front-runner left little room when it came to separating the Islamic religion and radical Islamic terrorism. Trump has acknowledged his position and statement would be seen as politically incorrect by some. “I’m not interested in being politically correct,” Trump said. “I’m interested in being correct.”
While Trump’s message and rhetoric are undoubtedly controversial and deemed bombastic and hateful by some, it is resonating among many Americans — specifically GOP primary voters.
Exit polling in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan, Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia shows that over 61 percent of Republican voters would support a temporary ban on non-American Muslims from entering the United States. It appears as though Trump’s controversial proposal set him apart from his other opponents in voting contests across the country — perhaps prompting Cruz to call for policing and securing Muslim neighborhoods in the wake of the Brussels attacks.
Interestingly, prior to 2001, Muslim-Americans leaned Republican, but after the September 11 terrorist attacks there has been a shift among the demographic toward Democratic ideology. Today, over 70 percent of Muslim-Americans identify as Democrats, according to the Pew Research Center.
The newly registered will favor Democrats, because fueling the registration drive is the so-called “anti-Muslim” rhetoric by the Republican candidates.
Undoubtedly, the newly registered will favor Democratic candidates, because the fuel behind the registration drives is the so-called “anti-Muslim” rhetoric by the Republican candidates.
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But it should be noted that CAIR comes with its own controversies. In 2014, CAIR was designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates — joining groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Alarmingly, in 2007, CAIR was named a co-conspirator in an effort to fund Hamas, a dangerous extremist group with which it has close connections.
While the language of the GOP candidates may be controversial and politically incorrect, some of the organizations behind these voter registration drives have a long history of supporting extremist causes.