With this fall’s election rapidly approaching, Muslim political leaders are scrambling to develop an election strategy — one that gets more Muslim citizens out to vote.

The American Muslim Alliance Youth Think Tank met this weekend at the University of California-Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall to rally the Muslim-youth vote, which speakers said is often ignored by candidates.

“This year we have to decide what America is going to be in the 21st century,” said Dr. Agha Saeed, national chairperson of the association and UC Berkeley visiting lecturer. “Are we going to lead on the rights of due process, as a liberator and friend of all nations in the world, or lead as a colonizer and occupier?”

In the last presidential election, much of the Muslim community voted as a bloc, sending their votes to President Bush.

Bush’s public stance against the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, also known as the Secret Evidence Act, which allowed the government to use “secret” evidence against a suspect in cases regarding national security, earned him the Muslim vote in 2000, Saeed said.

An estimated 78 percent of Muslim voters cast a Republican ballot, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations..


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