In November, the lines at voting booths on Staten Island will have a new look, with record numbers of Muslims and other newly registered residents from diverse ethnic groups casting ballots in some of the most crucial local and national races in decades.

In fact, the borough leads the city with a reported 43 percent increase in the number of registered Muslims in the North Shore and across the Island.

Kiran Syed is one of them.

Her parents were penniless when they came to the United States from Pakistan before their children were born. But they saved enough to open two grocery stores as a way to give Kiran and her younger sister the best of everything. But the country is a different place now than it was when her parents came to Huguenot.

“The economy is going down, the gas prices are going up,” said Kiran who checked the Democrat box not long after her 18th birthday in November.

“Everything is falling apart. And the war we’re fighting is completely unnecessary. Thousands of troops have died. Thousands of innocent Muslims have died.”

In November, Kiran will do something about it: Vote for change.

“I want my voice to be heard,” said the Seton Hall University sophomore.

That sentiment is part of what will propel the borough’s ethnic voters to the polls this fall to participate in a historic presidential election and a congressional race that is already shaking the foundation of the local electorate.

Voter registration among Muslims increased by 43 percent from 2004 to 2007 in the North Shore’s 49th Council district, the greatest change in any district across the city, according to an analysis by the Center for Urban Research at the City University of New York Graduate Center. (MORE)


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