Muslim advocacy group unveils voting campaign

WASHINGTON: The Council on American-Islamic Relations has launched its 2012 "Muslims Vote" campaign. The effort is designed to empower American Muslims to get involved in the upcoming presidential election.

WASHINGTON: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has launched its 2012 "Muslims Vote" campaign. The effort is designed to empower American Muslims to get involved in the upcoming presidential election.

The council will pay special attention to Muslim voters under the age of 30 who are underrepresented on voter rolls. The initiative also encourages these voters to think beyond voting by getting them to volunteer for the campaign of their choice.

"This allows them to get first-hand experience with political campaigning and hopefully inspires some to go into public service," said Corey Saylor, national legislative director at CAIR. “For CAIR, the best solution is to let people get to know individual Muslims, thus the push to volunteer.”

The timing of the campaign's launch comes days before the January 3 Iowa Caucus.

“Islamophobic groups sell the conspiracy theory that Muslim involvement in the national political dialogue is a threat,” noted Saylor. “Most often this is from Republicans, which is unfortunate as our conservative, family-oriented social values frequently align with GOP ideals.”

To bring awareness to the campaign, outreach will take place via e-mail, press releases, video messaging, Twitter, and Facebook. As part of the effort, the group also released a 2012 presidential voter guide and an online voter registration tool. In addition, CAIR has mailed all presidential candidates its 2012 election questionnaire.
 
With large concentrations of Muslim voters in key swing states such as Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Michigan, “the American Muslim community has the potential to be influential in determining the next president of the United States,” CAIR government affairs coordinator Robert McCaw said in a statement.

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