CAIRO - While Republican candidates are toning up their anti-Islam rhetoric to win votes and the Democrats have no clear agenda on how to address Muslim values and issues, Muslim voters are turning away from the two main parties ahead of the November election.
Many Muslim-Americans are turning away from the two party system, Farheen Hakeem, the national co-chairperson of the Green Party US, told The Florida Independent on Thursday, March 22.
Muslims complain that the Democratic and Republican parties are caving in to Islamophobes, pushing them to turn away from the two parties.
Activists cite the example of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, who declined an invitation by a Muslim group after a blogger claimed she was to appear at a fundraiser hosted by a Muslim leader on the Federal Terrorist Watch List.
Her retreat was a cave-in to islamophobes who use fear-mongering tactics to marginalize Muslim participation, said Muhammed Malik, a Muslim rights activist and in South Florida.
Malik, who is also a member of the Green Party, said the Democrat's action was a signal that both the Republican party and the Democratic party continue to cave in to ignorant hysteria.
I don't think it's an issue of a few bad apples - as long as islamophobia is cozy within our political and social institutions, threats to full participation, dignity, and civil rights will remain alive and well.
Muslims are also turning away from the Democratic Party over its failure to draft a clear agenda on how to address their values and interests.
The Republican Party has also been dismissive to Muslim voters over the anti-Islam campaigns played by its candidates to win votes.
Newt Gingrich, former House speaker, has described Islamic 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.
Former candidate Herman Cain had also said that he would not appoint a Muslim in his administration.
Cain, who withdrew from the race for the White House, later modified his position by calling for an unconstitutional "loyalty" oath for Muslim appointees.
Recently, a Republican Missouri lawmaker described Islam as a disease like polio while another Alaska Rep. branded Muslims as occupiers' of American neighborhoods.
US Muslims complain that both Republicans and Democrats fail to defend their rights.
It's incumbent upon all of us to address all forms of fear-mongering, including this most recent form of islamophobia, wherever they rear their ugly heads, Malik said.
Political leaders in both parties should, at minimum, be ashamed and should speak out to clear the record.
Earlier this year, Democratic lawmakers in Florida helped pass a bill seeking to ban the use of Shari`ah in courts.
Muslim activists warned lawmakers that it was an attempt to demonize Islam and marginalize Muslims.
The bill eventually died on the Senate calendar.
Last week, 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
One hundred and twenty four thousand is a significant number of votes, Hakeem said.
That's not a population any politician should be disregarding. Anyone with political savvy will say they are making a mistakeAlthough there are no official figures, the United States is believed to be home to between 6-8 million Muslims.