I Am A Muslim And I Can Vote

With all the attention there has been on the voting behavior of different religious and ethnic segments of the population, it is plainly clear that the Muslim vote has been overlooked. There are only a few hours left until the outcome of the most important election of our time, when I, along with more than two million American Muslims will cast our votes, and I'm starting to feel neglected. However, being a Muslim and neglected under the Bush Regime is good...really good. A day without wiretapping, profiling, and harassment...is a good thing.

For the past eight years, Muslims have endured bigotry, Islamophobia, and racism from the Republicans. That's why they are very enthusiastic about this election and will be voting en masse for Barack Obama. According to a Pew Poll, American Muslims will vote 70 to 80 percent Democrat, whereas according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), 78 percent of Muslims voted Republican in 2000.

Why are Muslims leaning towards Obama?

The answer is simple. There is a sense of urgency in the Muslim community because so many issues are affecting them; with the Iraq war and the war on terrorism, they have been victims of anti-Muslim policies of the Bush administration, such as the Patriot Act, secret detentions, and the "secret evidence" laws used against them. Muslims are genuinely optimistic that a sweeping change promised by Obama will restore the civil rights that have been usurped by the Bush administration and end the Islamophobia that has swept the country and been exploited by John McCain during the election.

There are 6-7 Million Muslims living in the United States, with around 2.3 million of them eligible to vote according to some estimates. Several Muslim organizations have been working diligently to "Get Out the Muslim Vote" by helping Muslims to register and urging them to vote on November 4. Leading the pack is CAIR, a non-partisan organization with an overall goal of enhancing American Muslim political and civic engagement, according to one of their representatives. Their volunteers have been spearheading a nationwide strategy to register voters, distribute voter guides, and get out the Muslim vote for the 2008 elections.

Six to seven million might not sound like a lot, but Muslims are concentrated in several swing states like Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia, which just might make the difference. As for those Muslims who still cling to the concept that they share the same social values with the Republicans and therefore ought to vote for John McCain--well, they ought to get their heads examined. This Muslim will not be only voting for Barack Obama but will also be voting against Prop 8 in California. After eight years of divisive politics, it is time for us as a nation to move beyond all forms of bigotry.

Jamal Dajani produces the Mosaic Intelligence Report on Link TV