Muslim Americans helped put George W. Bush in the White House four years
ago, but fallout from 9-11 and the domestic war on terrorism have eroded
the president’s support in the Muslim community.
But that doesn’t mean their political allegiance will automatically shift
to Bush’s Democratic challenger.
With the election little more than two weeks away, many Muslims remain
undecided on the presidential race. That could change today when a
coalition of national Muslim groups meets in Washington to decide if it
will endorse a candidate. The decision is to be announced this week.
“Except for (Ralph) Nader, neither Bush nor (Sen. John) Kerry are
addressing concerns in the Muslim community,” said Surwat Husain, a San
Antonio resident who moved here from Pakistan more than 30 years ago. “The
bottom line is I’m a Democrat, but I’m still not too very happy with Kerry.
So it’s still up in the air.”
She said she feels that if Muslims are not going to get anything from
either party, then “why should we waste our vote?” And if Muslims give
their collective vote to Nader, perhaps the two main party candidates will
get the hint, she said.
Husain, chairwoman of the San Antonio chapter of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations, said despite the indecisiveness as a whole, the
interest among Muslim Americans to get out and vote has never been greater.
The chapter sponsored a series of voter registration drives in September
that brought in 700 new voters.
Of the 10,000 to 12,000 Muslims living in San Antonio, an estimated 6,000
are expected to vote in the Nov. 2 election. Nationally, there are about 3
million registered Muslim voters.
Much of the new interest in voting stems from the war on terror and the
effect its domestic aspects have had on Muslim Americans.
“9-11 has woke all of us up,” Husain said”¦
As for Husain in San Antonio, she plans to support a Muslim bloc vote
“We are stronger when we are unified,” she said