Muslims Gain Foothold in U.S. Politics

June 5, 2006

Source: Scripps Howard News Service

On June 5, 2006 Scripps Howard News Service reported, "Of the 11,754 Americans who have served in Congress since the nation was founded, only one has specified a religious preference other than Christian or Jewish. If Keith Ellison of Minneapolis makes it through the primary and general elections in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, he would make history by becoming the first Muslim member of Congress... After losing political ground in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, American Muslims are trying hard to regain traction in the 2006 elections. Many Muslims say they've been the victims of more hate crimes and discrimination in recent years and that the only way to fight back is to become more engaged in politics. They're doing just that, holding voter registration drives and running candidates from City Hall to Capitol Hill... The number of Muslim candidates for various offices across the nation hit an all-time high of about 700 in 2000 but then declined dramatically, to about 70 in 2002 and about 100 in 2004, according to the American Muslim Alliance, a national organization that supports Muslim candidates. No comparable figures are available for 2006."