As the US city of Philadelphia prepares for its most closely watched political primary in generations, one significant part of the population seems to have already picked their man.
Muslim-American community leaders, activists and voters in the city of brotherly love, as Philadelphia is known, say Barack Obama is by far their preferred candidate.
Philadelphia’s Muslim community is one of the most significant, in terms of size and in terms of prominence, of all US cities.
There are up to 70,000 people worshipping in 34 mosques in the city alone, leading one local leader to describe Philadelphia as “a Mecca for US Muslims”.
The community is also becoming increasingly politically active, ahead of both Tuesday’s crucial primary vote and the November election itself, with pressure groups holding workshops about the primary systems in a bid to educate the community and mosques holding voter registration drives.
Iftekar Hussain, chairman of the Council on Islamic American Relations in Pennsylvania, says the primary marks a watershed for many Muslim-Americans as they will be participating in far larger numbers.
“One of the main things I’ve seen with Pennsylvania Muslims is that four or eight years ago I’d I talked to Muslims about the primaries they had no idea – they thought it was the November elections and that was it,” he says.
“This time I’ve seen lots of Muslim participation and you will see it in the primaries which is something you didn’t have before, and this has come through a learning process in the Muslim community.” (MORE)