Stateside: Muslim and Arab-Americans will play critical role in election results

Oct 30, 2012

Throughout this year’s campaign both President Obama and Governor Romney have made direct appeals to certain blocs of voters.

However, there are two large groups, especially in Michigan, that have been overlooked: Arab- American and Muslim-American voters.

To investigate both candidates’ potential reasons for ignoring these groups, Cyndy spoke to Nadia Tonova, who is with the National Network for Arab American Communities, and Dawud Walid, the Executive Director of the Council on American- Islamic Relations.

“We haven’t received the attention a lot of the other minority groups have received. We know that Arab Americans are an influential voting group in several states,” said Tonova

“American Muslims make up approximately two percent of the population, which is the same as the Jewish population,” said Walid.

“The National Network for Arab American Communities works on getting Arab Americans out to vote. They are extremely engaged this year. We have been able to register nearly 5,000 voters. Here in Michigan we have been at many high schools and college events, “said Tonova.

Both guests acknowledged the wane of enthusiasm for President Obama.

“There are two issues that many Muslims have been concerned about. First, on many key issues related to human rights, we have not seen any movement from Bush-era policies. Also, the increased usage of drones which are killing unarmed civilians. These are issues of great concern to Muslims across America,” said Walid.

However, according to Walid, Obama’s support is still strong when compared to Romney’s.

“From what I have heard, no one has been appreciating Romney’s comments. A lot of the policies regarding civil rights pertaining to the Muslim world have turned people off from supporting Romney,” said Walid.

Walid felt the impact of Muslim-Americans on the elections will certainly be felt.

“The percentage of Muslims in Florida and Virginia could be enough to tip the scales to one candidate or the other.” -Walid

“I think that we are going to be turning out to the polls. Our community is traditionally very active in politics,” said Tonova.

-Cameron Stewart

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