A lecture giving Muslim voters the tools to get active in American politics dispelled common stereotypes surrounding Muslims, like the idea that Islamic political issues differ greatly from those of the general public.
Many of Islam’s core principles support democratic ideals, said Parvez Ahmed, chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national nonprofit civil rights advocacy group.
“Being an active participant in the American political process is not inconsistent with being a good Muslim,” Ahmed said.
More than 60 people attended the lecture, titled “Muslims, Politics and the 2008 Elections,” in Tate Hall on the MU campus. The event was sponsored by the Muslim Student Organization and the Islamic Center of Central Missouri.
Top issues for Muslim voters mirror the top concerns of the general American public, said Ahmed, who was citing a 2008 study by the council. Muslim voters said education, civil rights, health care and the economy are the issues they focus on when selecting a candidate.
According to the study, 84 percent of respondents said Muslims should strongly emphasize shared values with Christians and Jews. While many respondents believed that the religions worship the same God, other studies show the general American pubic shares a different viewpoint.
“Disproportionately, the majority of Americans do not have the understanding that the same God Muslims worship is the same that Christians and Jews do,” he said.