Muslims in the U.S. are more politically engaged than ever, study finds

The number of Muslim Americans who are registered to vote has shot up since 2016.

Oct. 28, 2020, 12:03 PM EDTBy Sakshi Venkatraman

Muslim Americans are more politically engaged and registered to vote in 2020 than ever before, a report published last week says.

According to a poll by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, 78 percent of eligible Muslim voters in the United States are registered to cast their ballots this year, compared with just 60 percent who were registered in 2016.

“Muslim Americans have become so politicized,” the institute’s research director, Dalia Mogahed, told NBC Asian America. “They command way more attention than their numbers would suggest makes any sense. They’re 1 percent of the population, yet talked about, discussed, scapegoated so often. So it’s really important that if they’re going to be talked about that they also have a voice, that they also have a place at the table.”

After President Donald Trump took office, Muslim American satisfaction with the U.S. took a sharp decline. Since 2018, it has more or less plateaued, and since last year, it has begun to climb slightly.

The study showed that Muslim American support for President Donald Trump has also climbed by a small margin since 2016, though it is lower than the group’s support for any other candidate, including all Democratic Primary contenders.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NBC NEWS

Muslim Americans Are As Polarized On Politics As Everyone Else, Poll Finds

Muslim Americans are sharply divided along political and racial lines when it comes to their views on President Donald Trump and hot-button social issues, according to a new study out Thursday.

And those views could be more of a factor in this year’s elections than in years past since, according to the study, Muslim Americans are making gains in becoming registered voters.

The report, titled “American Muslim Poll 2020: Amid Pandemic and Protest” was released by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), a think tank based in Washington, D.C., and focused on Muslim Americans. Over the course of a month in the spring, the group surveyed more than 2,000 respondents on questions about Trump’s performance, the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ rights and other issues.

“[The poll] showed how our country’s political polarization is reflected in the Muslim community as well,” said Dalia Mogahed, ISPU’s director of research and co-author of the report.

The poll showed that approval of Trump’s job performance among Muslim Americans had increased in the past two years, but it varied across Muslims of different backgrounds and was sharply divided along racial lines.

FULL ARTICLE FROM WBEZ.ORG

A Muslim community in Michigan has come together with a Ramadan lights challenge to lift spirits during the holiday

200427165018-01-ramadan-lights-challenge-exlarge-169(CNN) For Muslims around the world, the holy month of Ramadan looks a little different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gone are the community gatherings for evening prayers, and nightly feasts to break fasts with friends and family.

That’s why the Muslim community in Dearborn, Michigan, decided to start a new tradition this year, one that could be done while still abiding by social distancing guidelines.
The community is hosting a Ramadan lights competition in hopes of spreading joy and bringing back some of the holiday spirit.
While many Muslims decorate their homes during the month, a similar tradition to hanging Christmas lights, this year, the Dearborn community has turned the custom into a challenge.
Residents are invited to nominate their own houses, or their neighbor’s, by sharing their address and a photo of their decorated home by May 11. The photos will be shared on social media and the public can vote on their 10 favorite houses from each district. Judges will then pick the best lit-up homes in the city.
Documentary filmmaker Razi Jafri, who works for the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, launched the challenge in collaboration with the Michigan Muslim Community Council and the city’s annual Ramadan Suhoor Festival.
The competition is also a part of Halal Metropolis, a project Jafri works on at the center to document the lives of Muslims in Southeast Michigan.
“This will help raise spirits by providing a positive, pro-social project for the community to get involved with,” Jafri told CNN. “It’s amazing because both Muslims and non-Muslims in the community are getting so excited about it. There’s been so much positive energy that has come out of this already. “
A home in Dearborn lit up for Ramadan in 2019.

When Islam Is Not a Religion in America

92048Is Islam a religion?

This question is regularly posed by populists seeking to restrict Muslims in America. If Islam is not a religion—if it is a militant ideological system, for example—then some argue it is not subject to First Amendment protection.

At stake is the protection of religious liberty, writes lawyer Asma T. Uddin in When Islam Is Not a Religion: Inside America’s Fight for Religious Freedom. Her new book details recent legal cases involving Muslims, arguing that restrictions on one faith community affect the freedom of all.

Formerly a legal counsel with Becket, a leading religious liberty law firm, Uddin has worked with the US State Department to advocate against the former United Nations resolution on the defamation of religion, which was seen by many as an attempt at international cover for blasphemy laws. And through the Legal Training Institute, she has worked to extend the American understanding of religious liberty to several Middle Eastern, North African, and Southeast Asian countries.

Uddin, a Muslim of Pakistani descent, has worked on religious liberty cases at the federal and Supreme Court levels—including the Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor victories praised by conservative Christians—defending evangelicals, Catholics, Jews, Native Americans, and Muslims. Christianity Today, which recently editorialized on why religious freedom isn’t just for Christians, spoke with her on the sidelines of the recent US State Department Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.

CT: American evangelicals are often concerned that Christians have their religious liberty threatened around the world, often in Muslim-majority nations. The focus of your book is Muslim religious liberty, threatened in the United States. What sorts of challenges do Muslims face in America?

Uddin: I think it’s important to point out that the book doesn’t just look at attacks on Muslims. The book looks broadly at the attack on religious freedom, seen through the prism of attacks on Muslims. I discuss violence against churches, synagogues, and Sikh temples.

But in terms of threats to Muslim religious freedom specifically, I look at the nationwide anti-mosque controversy, which started in earnest after the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” fiasco. From there, it spread to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which was the first community to be affected while attempting to build a mosque. That’s where the claim was made that Islam is not a religion.

To this day, there are ongoing struggles to build mosques. It’s not just litigation, but also arson and fire bombing. There is even a question about Muslim cemeteries, to the point where American Muslims are unable to bury their dead. That’s the challenge we’re facing to our human dignity.

I also look at the so-called anti-Sharia laws that now have been proposed in 43 states: 217 bills as of 2017. The movement continues in full force accompanied by “marches against Sharia” (religious laws based on Islam), where we see people taking to the streets. And not that long ago, there was a murderous attack in public transportation of two men who came to the defense of two women in headscarves.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY 

For religious American Muslims, hostility from the right and disdain from the left

Contributor, PostEverything

July 25

Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is the author of “Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam Is Reshaping the World” and the co-editor of “Rethinking Political Islam.”

End Of Ramadan Is Celebrated In Brooklyn With The Eid Al-Fitr FestivalIt is an odd time to be a Muslim in America, in part because it depends on which America you happen to live in. Here, too, there are two Americas.

On the one hand, this is a sort of golden age for American Muslims and their place in public life. Sometimes it seems like Muslims are everywhere, even though they’re not. They star in their own television shows; they headline the White House correspondents’ dinner ; they win Academy Awards; they become Snapchat sensations. Some of it is more subtle but striking nonetheless: If you live in a semi-hip urban setting, it’s not unusual to see a headscarf-wearing woman in an ad flanked by a rainbow coalition of other diverse Americans.

This can make it easy to forget the other reality that exists alongside the liberal pop-culture embrace of Muslims. The increase in anti-Muslim bigotry and other forms of discrimination against Muslims is well documented. But even if you don’t experience it or see it, you know Islamophobia exists, because it is there on social media. It is also in our president’s rhetoric. It is inescapable.

Islam and Hip-Hop: Muslims in America

maxresdefaultThough it’s one of the most diverse religious groups in America, the U.S. Muslim population has been subject to narrow interpretation and unfavorable stereotypes. The misconceptions about the “dangers” of the religion became much more prevalent post-9/11, resulting in a surge of Islamophobia and faith-based discrimination in the nation.

“Anti-Muslim sentiment is just systematic of a deeply entrenched anti-blackness that the country is built off of,” Imam Khalid Latif, executive director of the Islamic Center at NYU, told Complex. “And if people have to understand anything, and they’re trying to understand how to break this down, they got to know where it’s coming from.”

In an effort to shed more light on American-Muslim culture, we’re presenting Islam and Hip-Hop: Muslims in America—the latest installment of our docuseries, Complex News Presents. Speedy Mormon sat down with several members of the religion to discuss everything from representation in the media to institutionalized discrimination to the common thread between Islam and hip-hop.

FULL STORY AND VIDEO FROM COMPLEX

The implications of a Trump war on political Islam

7bba8861e5b146748f3a1f8c2a97e620_18One has to admire US President Donald Trump‘s tenacity. Despite the many fiascos of his Middle Eastpolicy, he keeps going down the same path, with the same partners, come what may.

Since his first foreign trip landed him in Saudi Arabia and Israel two years ago, the president has been on a roll, trampling all over traditional liberal US policies, defying the United Nations, violating international law and heightening tensions in the Middle East – all at the request, or in support, of these special partners.

This trend intensified over the past few weeks. The White House overrode Congress to continue assisting the Saudi war effort in Yemen and lent its support to the renegade general, Khalifa Hafter, during his assault on the Libyan capital, Tripoli. It also proclaimed the Syrian Golan Heights part of Israel and gave approval to the Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian territories.

It tightened sanctions on Iran, designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp a “foreign terrorist organisation” and deployed carrier strike group battleships to the Gulf.

As a result of these policies, tensions throughout the region are escalating, yet the Trump administration won’t reconsider, let alone reverse any of them. It has only really done that once – when it stepped back from its hastily-taken position on the blockade of Qatarby Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt two years ago.

But that’s the exception that confirms the rule.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA 

Muslims arrived in America 400 years ago as part of the slave trade and today are vastly diverse

file-20190409-2931-vj92z7Most Americans say they don’t know a Muslim and that much of what they understand about Islam is from the media.

It’s not surprising then to see the many misunderstandings that exist about Muslims. Some see them as outsiders and a threat to the American way of life and values. President Donald Trump’s controversial policy to impose a ban on Muslims from seven countries entering into the United States played into such fears.

What many don’t know, however, is that Muslims have been in America well before America became a nation. In fact, some of the earliest arrivals to this land were Muslim immigrants – forcibly transported as slaves in the transatlantic trade, whose 400th anniversary is being observed this year.

The first American Muslims

Scholars estimate that as many as 30% of the African slaves brought to the U.S., from West and Central African countries like Gambia and Cameroon, were Muslim. Among the difficulties they faced, were also those related to their faith.

As a scholar of Muslim communities in the West, I know African slaves were forced to abandon their Islamic faith and practices by their owners, both to separate them from their culture and religious roots and also to “civilize” them to Christianity.

Historian Sylviane Diouf explains how despite such efforts, many slaves retained aspects of their customs and traditions, and found new, creative ways to express them. Slave devotionals sung in the fields, for example, kept the tunes and memory of a bygone life alive well after the trauma of dislocation.

Diouf argues that blues music, one of the quintessential forms of American culture, can trace its origins to Muslim influences from the slave era. She also demonstrates how the famous blues song, “Levee Call Holler,” has a style and melody that comes from the Muslim call to prayer, the “adhan.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CONVERSATION 

As a mother — and a Muslim — in America, I see our flaws and failures, but also our potential

8fb4f42a-7862-43b1-b6ab-6f84d4dc8c82-Muslim

It has taken me years to heal from the hate I’ve experienced. But I share my story to help build a better world for my children — all our children.

My son is named Jibreel, which is Arabic for Gabriel. I wanted him to have a strong name, one he could draw inspiration from. A line was drawn in the sand for him before he was born. He sits on one side of it and doesn’t know the line is there because he’s only 2 years old. Baby J is consumed with his garbage trucks, cement mixers and kicking his soccer ball around the house.

Meesha is 10 and plays soccer, like a boss. We joke that she’ll have only her first name on the back of her jersey, like a Brazilian. Meesha is a Farsi word meaning “always springtime, always in bloom.” I’m glad my baby plays soccer, and I am more grateful that soccer builds strength and courage. If she ever gets shoved, Meesha will know how to hold her own. My daughter already knows a line is there.

As a parent, I cringe knowing I cannot protect my children from hate. They will walk into it like a glass door, painfully, jarred into reality. I hope I can equip them with the tools to see the glass door for what it is, but also to have the strength to find the catch and throw the door wide open. But I still worry, because it took me years to come to terms with how to deal with hate.

FULL ARTICLE FROM USA TODAY 

Who gets to define American Muslim identity?

muslim_men_praying_jeansThe various groups that were drawn (or in some cases, dragged) to the United States have themselves been made up of a variety of smaller identity groups: Italian Catholics and Irish Catholics; Polish Jews and German Jews; Latinos from Guatemala and Latinos from Brazil. If, to paraphrase Walt Whitman, the poetical nature of the United States is determined by the dynamics of engagement between those identity communities, then there is also American poetry to be drawn from such dynamics within those communities.

No nation has a Muslim community that is more ethnically, racially, or theologically diverse than the United States. For many years, these various Muslim groups created separate spaces, such as mosques, schools, and community centers. Those who were less ritually observant often found no space at all. But the era of Islamophobia has forced them all together and raised fascinating questions about what it means to be American, what it means to be Muslim, and who gets to define the identity of American Muslims.

Ansari offered lessons in the science of prejudice through a set of humorous stories about Muslims. He reminded his audience that Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews. If you just changed the music on Homeland, he joked, we wouldn’t look so scary.

In a New York Times op-ed published a few months earlier, Ansari wrote on several of the same themes, but this time through the poignant story of instructing his parents not to go to the mosque for prayer lest they wind up the victims of an Islamophobic attack.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY