by Saif Alnuweiri, The National Memo, February 9, 2016
An overwhelming majority of American Muslims support Democratic presidential candidates, according to a poll completed by Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) last week. This isn’t exactly a surprise, given the blatant Islamophobia coming from nearly every Republican presidential candidate, but the poll gave some insight into how the Muslim electorate has shifted, politically, over the past two decades.
The survey reported that a majority of American Muslims, 52 percent, supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential run. “As an immigrant community, there’s a long memory of the work she has done abroad,” said Robert McCaw, Department Manager of Government Affairs at CAIR. “So, you essentially have two generations of Muslim immigrants who have been exposed to Clinton before they have even heard of Sanders.”
Strong support for Clinton also revealed that American Muslims are not opposed to female leadership, despite familiar tropes by the American right that Islam promotes a rigid, undemocratic and patriarchal social order. “When you look at Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, even Kosovo, these are Muslim oriented countries that have already had female leaders, presidents, and prime ministers,” said McCaw. “So this is nothing new, for Muslims to elect a female leader. This may be something new for America.”
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders placed second in the survey, earning the support of 22 percent of respondents. Sanders was one of the most vocal opponents of the Islamophobic atmosphere many Muslims have been forced to confront since the start of this election cycle. …
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Chart from the CAIR poll: