Analysis of the political beliefs of American Muslims and members of the House of Representatives
Cantrell, Tiffany K'Anne
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Voters are the key to the future and direction of representative political systems. The voting behaviors of different demographic groups can be studied to ascertain the impact that certain group is having on the policies of the governmental body. The purpose of this paper is to look at the political impact the growing Muslim population is having on the national political system in the United States of America. The Muslim political influence can be determined by looking at the political beliefs and voting patterns of American Muslim citizens as well as the political ideology of Muslim members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In order to understand the political influence Muslims are having on the American political system, it is of primary importance to understand the demographics of the American Muslim community. Muslims are increasing both in their number and percentage of the population, which is evidenced through the growing number of mosques and Islamic schools. Their numbers are growing because of immigration, fertility rates and conversion rates of native-born Americans. They are of relatively mixed race and ethnicity, with no one racial group having a majority. A slight majority of American Muslims are male. They are mostly young with a majority under the age of 40. American Muslims follow the same pattern as the general population for family status; a majority of them are married. Muslims in America are moderately educated and on the lower end of the economic spectrum. A high percentage of Muslim immigrants obtain citizenship and live in more urban areas of the country. American Muslim organizations and mosques are highly political in nature. Islamic leadership promotes involvement in U.S. institutions as well as participation in the political process, although Muslims attending the mosques are split over their agreement with mosque leadership being involved in politics. American Muslims believe in a big government and are more concerned with helping the needy than government debt. They are conservative on many social and moral issues. Muslims in America are concerned about Islamic extremism and a majority of them do not favor al Qaeda, but they vary in their opinions about U.S. military involvement in Muslim nations. American Muslims identify with Democrats, but consider themselves moderate, not liberal on the political spectrum. American Muslims will vote based on foreign policy over social issues. Currently there are two Muslim members of the House of Representatives: Keith Ellison and Andre’ Carson. It would be expected that bill sponsorship of Ellison and Carson would mirror the political ideology of Muslim Americans. However, bill sponsorship appears to be more closely linked with political party than based on beliefs held by most Muslims in America.
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