Election 2000: October 20 News Briefs

Majority of American Muslims likely to vote for Bush

American Muslim voters are likely to vote for George W. Bush in the polls next month, according to survey released this week by the Council on American Islamic Relations.

The poll, conducted in September, indicated that 40 percent of eligible Muslim voters said they would vote for Bush, 25 percent favored Nader and just 24 percent said they support Al Gore.

Only 8 percent of respondents said they remained undecided, down from 26 percent in June. When asked whether their choice of candidates changed since the end of the political conventions, 71 percent said it had not.

Those results are a major change over a June poll that showed Gore in the lead, with Nader as a distant third. CAIR, a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group, compiled both surveys.

"It is clear that, for a variety of reasons, many undecided Muslim voters will support either Bush or Nader in the November election," said CAIR Research Director Dr. Mohamed Nimer. Nimer added that Muslims might be swing voters in politically important states such as Michigan. He said recent violence in the Middle East would prompt Muslim voters to lean toward those candidates who support Palestinian rights. In previous surveys, Muslims said the status of Jerusalem was their most important foreign policy issue.

The survey is an indication of a growing number of Muslims who believe involvement in the American political system has become a necessary step to insure their religious freedoms both in the United States and abroad. Eighty-seven percent surveyed said they believe American Muslims are the target of so-called "secret evidence" used in INS deportation hearings, and a majority felt that U.S. foreign policy was biased against Muslims. The status of Jerusalem was the foreign policy issue mentioned most often by survey respondents. Other important issues included conflicts in Iraq, Kashmir and Chechnya.

According to CAIR's survey of 1022 individuals, 90 percent said they would vote in the November election. That figure is higher than the national average of about 50 percent.

In August, thousands of Muslim activists and leaders nationwide received a step-by-step guide to increasing political participation in local communities. The American Muslim Voter Registration Guide was distributed by CAIR as part of the largest campaign of its type targeting Muslim voters.

September 15 was designated American Muslim Voter Registration Day. Onthat day, voter registration tables were set up in mosques and Islamic centers nationwide. Some cities in Ohio continued to hold voter registration drives after September 15.

There are an estimated six million Muslims in the United States and Islam is widely considered to be one of the fastest growing religions.


George W.Bush Welcomes Qur'anic Studies in Prisons

George W. Bush said he would support taxpayer money to help teach the Qur'an to prisoners. The comments were made during a recent interview with Steven Waldman of Beliefnet.com. Waldman is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Beliefnet, a multi-faith website.

During the interview, Bush said he would support a Quranic studies program in prisons as long as it was voluntary and helped reduce criminal recidivism, drug abuse and other social problems.

"Right. That's right," Bush told Beliefnet. "A results-oriented world says let's achieve some common objectives and some common goals and if teaching Bible study or the Qur'an is a method that works, we should welcome it..." The entire article can be read at: http://www.beliefnet.com/frameset.asp?pageLoc=/story/47/story_4706_1.html&boardID=6339


Zionists angered over recent Gore appointment

Zionists of America, a New York based hate group, recently launched a media campaign against James Zogby, an Arab American who was recently named as a senior advisor to the Gore-Lieberman campaign.

Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute, has been a long time supporter of Arab causes abroad and has publicly criticized the U.S. government for its unconditional support of the Israeli occupation. He will serve as Adviser on Ethnic Affairs, a position that is unpaid.

Since the announcement was made several weeks ago, articles attacking Zogby's appointment have appeared in publications such as the Jerusalem Post, Washington Jewish Week and The Forward.

The ZOA has sent out its own news release calling Zogby a defender of "Arab terrorists who have murdered American citizens."

"Those who praise terrorist killers of Americans, call Shimon Peres a terrorist, and support boycotting Israel, should be publicly condemned and ostracized by political leaders, not appointed as their advisers. The appointment of James Zogby as adviser to the Gore-Lieberman campaign should be rescinded," said ZOA National President Morton A. Klein.

A Gore campaign spokesperson said they had not received any complaints about Zogby, but sources tell iviews.com that days after the ZOA release, the campaign received "at least thirty phone calls" from groups and individuals opposing his decision.

Zogby, who now works for both Gore and AAI, was not immediately available for comment. But in a statement supporting the appointment, the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee said, "This [sic] the latest in a pattern of ZOA attacks on Arab Americans when they become an effective part of the American political process. Zogby is a well known Arab American activist and a long standing supporter of the Clinton Administration. He is basically being charged guilt by ethnicity. Apparently, the ZOA will go to any length in order to discredit and exclude Arab Americans from American political life. All Arab Americans stand with Jim Zogby against attacks on his ethnicity."

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