CAIRO - Mulling better Muslim engagement in US politics, Muslim leaders are set to meet lawmakers in the mid-western state of Minnesota on Thursday, April 5, to discuss ways of strengthening their country.
"As one of the nation's most educated and integrated religious communities, American Muslims have an important role to play in our society's social and political fabric," Lori Saroya, Executive Director of Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a press release obtained by OnIslam.net.
"It is important that members of our community engage with state and national lawmakers to share innovative ways to help build a stronger America and a stronger Minnesota."
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Muslims from around Minnesota will attend the 8th annual "Muslim Day at the Capitol" on Thursday.
Attendees will discuss with legislators ways of better engagement of Muslims in local politics.
Growing anti-Muslim sentiments and legislation seeking to ban Shari`ah and restrict religious freedoms are also on the table.
US Muslims, estimated at between seven to eight million, have been sensing hostility in recent months.
Republican aspirants seeking to win their party nomination for this year's election have been toning up their anti-Islam rhetoric to win votes before the election.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has described Shari`ah as a "mortal threat" to the United States.
Republican aspirant Rick Santorum had also described Islamic Shari`ah as "an existential threat" to America.
He also said that the concept of equality "doesn't come from Islam" or "Eastern religions".
Recently, a Republican Missouri lawmaker described Islam as a disease like polio while another Alaska Rep. branded Muslims as occupiers' of American neighborhoods.
Lawmakers in at least 20 states have introduced proposals forbidding local judges from considering Shari`ah when rendering verdicts on issues of divorces and marital disputes.
The role of Muslim voters in the November election will also be on the meeting's agenda.
Saroya said a recent study showed that Muslim voters could play a decisive role in swing states in the polls.
Last month, the Washington-based Institute for Social Policy and Understanding said that Muslim voters in Florida could a pivotal role in the November election.
Florida has an estimated 124,000 registered Muslim voters. The counties of Orange and Osceola rank high in registered Muslim voters.
In this swing state, Muslims helped elect George Bush in 2000 and Barack Obama in 2008
But some Muslim voters have complained that the anti-Islam rhetoric played by Republican hopefuls and failure of the Democratic Party to have a clear agenda on how to address Muslim values and issues are turning them away from both parties.
Seeking to empower Muslims before the November, election, CAIR has launched a campaign, "Muslim Vote", to boost political participation of American Muslims.
The campaign includes a presidential voter guide, an online voter registration tool and a video promoting online voter registration.The campaign also encourages Muslims to volunteer in election campaigns, host candidate forums and mobilize community members to vote in the elections.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net