Muslim Americans Mobilize Politically Through Votes
GOLACKSON 1: Dr. Fahra Abassi is a Cultural Psychiatrist who focuses on the mental health of Muslims. She’s a practicing Muslim herself, and says persistent, toxic stress levels are at an all time high for her clients and for her, too.
ABASSI 1: I’ve been here 16 years in this country and never before have I felt this worried for my safety and my family’s safety.
GOLACKSON 2: A poll by CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations shows that as many as three fourths of Muslim Americans say they’ll vote this year—up around 20 percent since the last presidential election.
ABASSI 2: They talk about muslims it’s not even in terms of some human thing. It’s almost become a kind of adverb or verb… it’s inanimate.
GOLACKSON 3: Abassi says Islamophobia is the number one reason she’s supporting Sanders. And she’s not alone. According to CAIR, 70 percent of Muslims plan to vote democrat.
But they haven’t always. Back in 2000…
ABASSI 3: most of the majority of the muslims voted for George Bush… because many muslims felt more aligned with the republican party…
Like Oz Sultan. He’s a Startup strategist and Muslim Republican Pundit.
( Sound: Cafe )
Despite the Republican Party treatment of Islam—Sultan says he’s still a conservative.
SULTAN 1: The issues to me are fiscal policy, financial reform, small government, and states rights. Those are huge issues that, I feel, are not being contended with I feel by the opposing party.
Sultan is sitting in a Harlem cafe with Nida Khan, who he calls his liberal journalist friend.
SULTAN 2: But we agree on a lot of things.
GOLACKSON 9: Like social issues, the problem of Islamophobia, women’s rights.
But not so much on others.
(Sultan: Bernie voters are single issue voters. Okay so what do I think about sanders. N.Kahn: That’s not true. I also don’t agree that they’re, what did you say, lazy voters? Absolutely not. I 100% disagree Sultan: She asked me what I think… N.Kahn: I know.)
GOLACKSON 10: Sultan and Khan do agree responding to the rhetoric about Islam should be a bipartisan issue. And that it’s good when anyone, Muslims included, get more engaged in the political process.
N.KHAN 2: Theyre paying attention to policy. On an everyday basis. Because in the end, every issue is a Muslim issue. They care about jobs, the economy, foreign policy.
KHAN Scene tape of room.
GOLACKSON 5 When Mohammed Khan goes to protest the New York State GOP Gala on Tuesday, he says it won’t be just to protest what he calls Donald Trump’s insulting comments about Islam.
KHAN 1: we also live in a city where, you know, folks struggle to pay their rent every month.
GOLACKSON 6: Kahn is volunteering with the Muslim Democratic Club of New York to get hundreds more Muslims registered to vote.
We also live in a state that blocks access to higher education for immigrants, right. New York State under the GOP underfunds public education by billions of dollars every year right.
GOLACKSON 6: Khan says he’s planning to vote for Sanders. Because:
KHAN 2: Muslim communities like ours, who have been marginalized especially over the last couple of decades… for us incremental change is not satisfactory.
GOLACKSON 7: So, he’ll make calls and go to mosques around the city this week to get out the vote for the April 19th primary. He says he’s optimistic. In Dearborn Michigan, a city with the one of the largest proportion of Muslims in the U.S., voter turnout almost doubled this year.
KHAN 3: I think you’ll see similar numbers in New York. Inshallah.
GOLACKSON 8: If Allah wishes it.
Erin Golackson, Columbia Radio News.