Khalid Duran teaches about Islam at the University of Louisville, Kentucky and edits TransState Islam, a quarterly magazine published by the Institute for International Studies in Washington, D.C.
The 1996 presidential election in the United States famously drew attention to Asian-Americans as a new constituency, and especially their contributions to the Democratic Party. Lost in this spate of media coverage, however, was the debut of another large, ambitious body of voters on the American electoral stage: Muslim immigrants from South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.1 Though the general media ignored the involvement of some four million Muslims,2 this young minority's rich and variegated ethnic press was gripped by election fever. As one account in an Indo-Pakistani3 newspaper put it:
For the first time in the history of this nation, Muslims took deliberate steps to participate in the presidential election. A number of Muslim organizations made involvement in the electoral process their top priority. Numerous fundraisers were organized. Discussions were held with candidates, some of them endorsed and supported. A number of voter registration drives were conducted across the country, a few on a continuing basis. ... Muslims are trying to come to terms with the meaning and significance of their vote in this most democratic of all nations.4
It is too early to determine whether the 1996 election constitutes a turning point, but it was certainly the moment when the "Muslim vote" first began to count in American politics. And Muslim Americans left no doubt that they hoped their involvement would be decisive for Islam in the United States.5
DEBATING MUSLIM PARTICIPATION
For Muslims, the first question to resolve is whether they should even participate in the American political process. Articulate spokesmen on both sides of this question argued this issue in a fierce and voluble debate, some concentrating on the religious angle and others on the political.
The religious debate. On the negative side, one Islamist (i.e., fundamentalist) magazine published a fatwa (edict) by the late Sheikh Jadd al-Haqq, rector of Egypt's prestigious Al-Azhar University, warning against participation without categorically ruling against it. "Muslims ought to be loyal to God alone, not to infidels," wrote a theologian, elaborating on Jadd al-Haqq.6Other Islamists find even such a cautious stance unacceptable. Writing in a Pakistani publication, Abdul-Majid Jaffry asks:
Is it not a sin for a Muslim to join, support, and vote for organizations whose charters allow its members to legislate affairs that have already been settled by Allah and His Prophet? Is it not a fact that a Muslim member of a secular legislative or judiciary body cannot legislate or judge on the basis of his religious beliefs? "Whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, those are the disbelievers" (Qur'an 5:44).
Jaffry finds secular democracy "diametrically opposed to the basic teachings of Islam" and rebukes those Muslims who "unabashedly" raise the story of the biblical Joseph (who also appears in the Qur'an) to justify Muslim inclusion in the political process of a secular society. They argue that because Joseph "accepted a position with the infidel government of Egypt, therefore it is permissible for Muslims to join a Kafir [non-Muslim] regime." But, Jaffry writes, Joseph did not in fact serve infidels under ungodly laws; rather, he was in charge of everything in Egypt, wielding complete authority.7 Another Islamist also argues against the Joseph precedent, noting that
It wasn't an electoral college that elected him [Joseph] to that position. No PACs lobbied on his behalf. He was appointed by the pharaoh himself to this position, with no Congress, Supreme Court or bureaucratic red tape to answer to.8
Thus do some Islamist utopianists use the occasion of American elections to expound on a favorite topic: the need for absolute authoritarianism under God.
Arguing in favor of participation, an Islamist imam with a Saudi orientation, Muzammil Siddiqi, proffers a pragmatic rationale for getting involved in politics -- one accepted by most of his flock at the Garden Grove Mosque in California's Orange County, and beyond. Muslims, he reasons, have a duty to participate in the political process of their country to protect their interests and promote the well-being of the larger population. Abu Talib, a nonbeliever, protected the Prophet Muhammad during the first thirteen years of his mission. The Prophet "openly criticized the un-Islamic beliefs and practices of his people, but he participated in their tribal system and did benefit from it."9
Similarly, an Islamist author holds forth on the "illegality of the Western democratic state," but then reasons: "We dare not completely ignore this battlefield because from it assaults can be launched against us. Politics is, after all, the exercise of power. And power in the land is the mujahid's solemn objective, his sacred temporal goal."10 A Pakistani medical doctor approaches the issue from an ethical angle, appealing to Sufis:
What is good for us is also good for mankind. In this regard all religions are on the same side of the fence. Instead of opposing each other, they should join hands in their common fight against crime, homelessness, immorality, injustice and racism.... Thus we must support the human rights movement in any part of the world, whether it is Muslim or non-Muslim, and we must oppose oppression in any form, whether the oppressed are Muslims or non-Muslims.11
He concludes that Muslims not only have the right but the obligation to join the political process.
The political debate. This argument reflects differences between Khomeiniist Iran and Saudi Arabia. On the negative side, Tehran admonishes Islamists around the world not to follow the example of pro-Saudi Islamist parties that participate in elections. Instead, Islamists everywhere should adopt the "line of the Imam [Khomeini]" and resort to "Islamic Revolution." Kaukab Siddiq echoes the Iranian position when he attacks the "upperclass viewpoint" among Muslims that advocates Muslim involvement in the American political process, which he contends is "rotten to the core." Such a system cannot be changed by becoming part of it.12 He calls the American Muslim Council (AMC) a bunch of "self-appointed leaders" bankrolled by Saudi money. Khomeiniists are not the only ones to oppose participation. Writing in the journal of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), an organization linked to the South Asian Islamist party Jama`at-e Islami, an American activist forwarded one of the severest indictments:
Despite its claims to democracy, the American government is an oligarchy with an aristocracy totally controlling all aspects of its decision-making processes. The ugly reality is that most Americans do not, and need not, vote. Instead, the government is controlled by an elite electoral college, manipulative behind-the-scenes owners of political parties, unscrupulous lobbyists, and so-called "Washington insiders" who "wheel and deal" in smoke-filled bars to swap political favors for tawdry forms of immoral gratification.13
Arguing in favor of participation, supporters emphasize two themes: competition with Jews and Muslim self-interest. Rivalry with the much-envied Jews has two components: the Middle East conflict (American Muslims must counter the powerful Israeli lobby) and Jews as models (if a small Jewish community can wield great power, why not Muslims?).14 Some Muslims even discern a hidden Jewish control of the two political parties: one report tells of a Muslim organization's AMA
[u]nveiling Israel's domination of the Democratic and Republican parties' policy planning process. ... Delegates and observers [to the party conventions] who were shown the original Israeli document15and its direct incorporation into the party platforms were startled by the pro-Israel lobby's control over their respective parties ... some vowed to fight back.16
Self-interest goes beyond the here and now to concern itself with larger issues. An ever increasing number of American Muslims see the United States as the promised land of Islam in the West, a view that even some Islamists share (because they have so freely and successfully built institutions in America). This at times induces them to admit positive aspects that other propagandists routinely negate:
There is no other place on this globe where the right to vote and assemble are empowering, the electoral process is celebrated, and the transition to power, when necessary, is peaceful. Those who invest in the process, whether for visionary or short-sighted goals, gain much in relaying their messages to the public. Public opinion in America remains the single-most influential power in shaping events throughout the world, for now and the future.17
Overall, the Muslim press included much more material in favor of participating in the election than against. And, as election day approached, opponents appeared almost to give up, leaving the field to the pragmatists to report one successful meeting with members of Congress or fundraiser after another.
Immigrant Muslims are extremely diverse in terms of geography, ethnicity, race, culture, and sect, but for our purposes, there are two leading Muslim communities, the Pakistani and the Arab.18 They see American politics quite differently.
Pakistanis involved themselves in the electoral process with a determination, even a euphoria that prominent American politicians such as Senator Robert Torricelli (Democrat of New Jersey) explicitly recognized their clout.19 Political participation is an exhilarating experience for many immigrants, being a right they could hardly exercise at home. Understandably, it took them a while to believe that they were truly able to do so: "Relying on their past experience in their native countries, Muslim immigrants have kept a low profile."20 Some Pakistani Americans were skeptical, as one of them quite poignantly pointed out:
Most American Muslims will not vote for one reason or another. Even those who are U.S. citizens and registered voters sometimes feel that both parties have a similar anti-Muslim agenda, so what is the use.
But he concluded by saying that this is not necessarily true.21 The fervor with which many members of his community immersed themselves in the electoral process proved that, the spell broken, zeal flowed over:
The Pakistani American community has been particularly blessed. We have assumed a vanguard position for the Muslim American presence in the United States due to our material resources, intellectual prowess and collective spiritual strength. It therefore becomes necessary and appropriate for us to play a leadership role in modulating the Muslim American voice in the United States.22
The American Muslim Alliance (AMA), a predominantly Pakistani organization, presumes that Muslims are first and foremost Muslims, and its first priority is to bring all Muslims together. In this spirit, it was especially pleased with the attempt to mobilize Muslims and get them actively involved in U.S. politics:
Even some of the Sufi leaders who normally do not attend such events lent their support to this effort. Hisham Qabbani of the Naqshbandi Movement along with many of his supporters attended AMA's hospitality suite at the Democratic Convention in Chicago.23
Similarly, while AMA is not an Islamist organization,24 it avoids criticizing Islamist groups in its attempt to represent the entire Muslim community. In the 1996 election season, the AMA even formed a close working alliance with a number of Islamist organizations, including the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the National Council of Islamic Affairs (NCIA).
The zest that Pakistani Americans brought to the election contrasts with the pessimism found among many Arab Americans, who generally seemed less convinced that their vote could make a difference, or who felt that there was no genuine alternative in U.S. policies. Their increasing disenchantment found both parties and all presidential candidates to be equally pro-Israel.25 Contrary to stereotype, "rich Arabs" complained about a lack of means (a Georgetown professor doubts the effectiveness of Arab and Islamic organizations given their limited funds)26 while "poor Pakistanis" talk as if they could achieve almost anything.
Richard Curtiss of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs has estimated that pro-Israel political action committees (PACs in the jargon of Washington) outspent Arab and Muslim spending by a ratio of 145 to 1 in the 1988 elections.27The figures for 1992 were something on the order of $6 million for the pro-Israel forces and a mere $40,000 spent by Muslim organizations. In a period of just four years much then changed. Some two dozen Muslim businessmen gave very large gifts in the 1996 cycle and "many Muslims also opened their homes for fundraising activities which generally provides a very warm setting for political networking."28 Most spectacularly, Rashid Chaudhry donated $340,000 of his private fortune to the Democrats in 1994-96.29 Chaudhry, a Pakistani-American, owns Raani Corporation, a Bedford Park, Illinois, company that supplies shampoos, deodorants, and other private-label personal goods to Kmart and Osco Drug. That one of theirs had "made it" -- even joining the president on Air Force One -- was a decisive factor for many Pakistanis in their voting, and for some other Muslims too.
As for organizations, the evidence suggests that ethnic (not religious) ones did the most effective fundraising in the 1996 election; and professional organizations of Pakistani Americans appear to have done especially well. The American Muslim Alliance aspires to be "a truly national Muslim political organization with state-wide organizing committees in more than 20 states and scores of chapters organized in the Congressional District of these states."30While U.S. Muslims do not constitute a single community, a significant body of opinion seeks to transcend their many divisions and mold them into a cohesive whole.31In this spirit, ethnic and religious organizations on occasion work together; for example, the United Muslims of America (UMA), a primarily California-based and predominantly Pakistani group that sees itself as a "non-partisan Muslim public affairs organization," joined with CAIR, an Arab-staffed Islamist lobbying outfit, to hold a fundraiser for Democratic congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. But in general, they have separate concerns and go their separate ways.
A typical AMA activity would be the symposium it held in Texas in December 1995, part of an educational campaign to organize "the American Muslim community as a solid voting block, as other minority communities have done." With such symposia, AMA leaders hope to "influence government agencies regarding internal and external policy, Muslim hiring for politically relevant offices, and internship of youth at congressional offices."32 The AMA produced a Fourteen State Strategy that placed "emphasis on fourteen major states in mobilizing the Muslim community and within those fourteen states on forty major cities" in which Muslims are strongly represented.33 It also prepared an instructional video on the U.S. political system, then screened it at the convention hospitality suites. The president of the alliance's Los Angeles chapter, Talat Khan, met such Republican luminaries as William Bennett, Steve Forbes, Alexander Haig, and George Pataki, as well as a number of congressmen.34
Foreign policy. Foreign-policy issues remain the driving force of immigrant Muslim politics. But Pakistanis and Arabs have different foreign-policy priorities, and sometimes find it difficult to work together. Pakistanis put much emphasis on South Asian issues -- support for the anti-Indian insurgency in Kashmir and U.S. even-handedness in dealing with India and Pakistan (where "even-handedness" means no American "tilt" toward either party). Pakistanis judge politicians primarily on their views on these questions. A typical report informs that "some Muslim leaders met with Bob Dole, Jack Kemp, and Henry Kissinger, presenting the organizations' position on what the United States should do with respect to Kashmir."35
After South Asia, many Pakistani Americans consider Bosnia no less important than the Palestinian question. One Pakistani American put Bosnia at the heart of the upsurge of Muslim interest in U.S. elections:
It was probably the agony of Bosnia that provided the impetus for Muslims to become politically active. After a lot of hard work, including a very successful demonstration in the nation's capital, Muslims were rewarded with the desired American involvement in Bosnia. The experience gained from that lobbying effort became the logical prelude for participation in the electoral process.36
In contrast, Arab Americans accord absolute priority to the conflict with Israel, to the point that their statements create the impression that they care only about this issue.37 Like the Pakistanis, they too seek "even-handedness," which in this case means ending the American tilt toward Israel. Overall, Muslim organizations, especially those Islamist ones that dominate the scene, seek to lump these foreign-policy issues together, though with a hierarchical order: Palestine, followed by Bosnia, Kashmir, and Chechnya.38
Domestic policy. "We seem to be consumed completely, as always, by foreign policy issues," complains a Pakistani American writer, referring to Muslims in general and his own ethnic group in particular, pleading for an interest in domestic issues too.39 He had some response. American Muslims are more left-leaning than their affluence would suggest, perhaps a legacy of the immigrants' past, especially their school days of fighting for social justice. This outlook survives in their election-time statements:
We must vote for the candidate who is righteous and whose ideology is close to our own values. He must support a welfare state, taking care of the poor, the needy, the homeless, the minority, and spending on education and health care.40
References to Republican-sponsored legislation to restrict immigration or welfare reform that denies benefits to legal immigrants were rare,41 even though the general press mentioned this as a reason many members of the community preferred the Democrats this time.42
Except in the area of foreign policy, Muslims look at presidential candidates through roughly the same lenses as do non-Muslim Americans. There is reason to believe they are economically less liberal --and socially less conservative -- than the rhetoric of many Islamic spokesmen suggests.
CHOOSING A PRESIDENT
Democrat or Republican? Which party should a Muslim support? Richard Curtiss proffered a telling description of Muslim political affinities (though he did add the caveat that he was "vastly oversimplifying a diverse and complex community"):
Muslim Americans break into two basic, almost stereotypical, categories. Most of the immigrants and their descendants have come from the elites in their home countries, many are professionals, and their conservative religion and largely secure niche in America's upper middle class make them natural Republicans.
The other category, indigenous Muslims, are straight arrows in their personal lives who, for the most part, have pulled themselves up from disenfranchised and underprivileged communities within America's inner cities. Natural Democrats.43
If this picture was ever accurate (James Abourezk, a Democratic senator, was for many years the immigrant community's most prominent politician), it is no longer. Pakistani Americans for some time have supported Democrats,44 and the mainly Pakistani AMA reports that "though the Republican Hospitality suite was moderately successful, the Democratic Hospitality suite was a major success."45At the Arab American Institute in Washington, while board member and activist George Salem forwards a Republican line, founder James Zogby is a significant force in the Democratic Party.
Clinton or Dole? In discussions among Muslims about the two major-party candidates, three criteria dominated:
• Morality: this touches both on the issues (abortion, homosexuality, drugs, and crime) and on the personal character of the candidates. Here, Muslim opinion showed near unanimous support of Republican candidate Bob Dole (whom no one ever accused of womenizing or Arkansas-style graft).46 That said, Islamists expressed disappointment that Dole "side-stepped the issue" of condemning homosexuality and "did not commit himself to an anti-abortion plank."47
•Ability to spur economic growth: Clinton won this. "If some Pakistani Americans have not noticed, the U.S. economy is booming, interest rates are low for mortgages, the business environment appears sound and the Dow Jones is over a record of 6000. If this is compared to the last Republican Administration of George Bush, who should we want to change?"48
• Responsiveness to Muslim concerns: here too, Clinton clearly won. While Jack Kemp was criticized for mentioning only two religious groups in the country, it was noted that Clinton "used the phrase `churches, synagogues and mosques,' in many of his speeches, thus emphasizing his inclusivity of Muslims."49 He had much else to his credit:
President Clinton has a record of reaching out to the Muslims from early on in his term. He is the first President to have issued regular messages to the Muslim community on the occasions of Ramadan and `Idu l-Adha. Moreover, he has met with Muslims frequently.
In May, the First Lady addressed the Los Angeles Muslim community at an event sponsored by the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Muslim Women's League. Both of these activities are noteworthy for their symbolic acknowledgement of the Muslims, for the first time ever, as part of the American landscape.50
One writer concluded that "to risk losing the favorable attention Muslims have gained with Clinton, for a new and unknown administration, is the equivalent of political suicide."51
Dole made a last-minute attempt to reach out to the Muslim community, when he was more forthcoming even than Clinton:
Dole said since the end of the Cold War, many American Muslims have been the targets of stereotyping, bias and discrimination. This discrimination has been seen in the workplace, where Muslim workers were denied reasonable religious accommodation, in schools, and in the media, where our Muslim citizens are often unfairly associated with acts of violence.52
But it was too late: Clinton had stored up credit over some two years and Dole's moves were not known in time.53 The general conclusion remained that "the Dole campaign has done a very poor job in reaching out to Muslim voters."54
Clinton's advantage over Dole in this regard is all the more remarkable in view of two facts. First, Clinton is generally considered the most pro-Israel president ever. Yet Dole's sponsorship of a Senate bill requiring that the U.S. embassy be moved to Jerusalem was repeatedly cited as an argument against him, suggesting that this highly emotional issue had more importance than all the practical pro-Israel steps Clinton had taken during the four years of his presidency.55 Secondly, during the height of Serb aggression against Bosnia in 1992-95, Dole spoke out in favor of lifting the arms embargo, and Muslims saw Clinton as reneging on his 1992 campaign promise to help the Bosnians. Back in 1994-95, the vast majority of American Muslims as a result sided fervently with Dole. But the signing of the Dayton accords in December 1995 permitted Clinton to gain Muslim sympathies, and by November 1996, Bosnia no longer rated as an issue, for both candidates were perceived as supporting the Muslims there.56
For some voters, a perceived "reaching out" to Muslim concerns had decisive importance, understandably so given the Muslims' status as a relatively new community in the United States yearning for recognition. Muslim voters, wrote one commentator, "need more respect, recognition and acknowledgment."57 Beyond this, today's world of Islam suffers from a certain inferiority complex. Muslims tend to be extraordinarily touchy and are quick to assume that "the West looks askance at the Islamic presence, and especially the immigrants."58
Muslim organizations also became involved in congressional elections, and on the whole were pleased with the outcome of House and Senate races. One activist reported that "the traditional friends of Muslims, such as Rep. Dan Burton from Indiana, Rep. David Bonior from Michigan, Rep. [Dana] Rohrabacher from California, were among the many elected to the U.S. Congress."59In the Senate, a number of candidates with Muslim backing also won, including Phil Gramm of Texas, Torricelli, and Paul Wellstone of Minnesota. The defeat of Senator Larry Pressler (Republican of South Dakota), author of the Pressler Amendment that prohibits aid to Pakistan if it does not abandon its nuclear development program, elated Pakistani Americans to the point that they showed glee about Indian disappointment over his loss.60
Perhaps the greatest victory that Muslims can claim is the election of Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who was supported by PAK PAC, and the defeat of Pakistan-bashing Sen. Larry Pressler. The credit for this work really belongs to APPNA, the Pakistan physicians group which backed up Johnson all the way.61
Sweeter yet was the election of Muslims as delegates to senatorial and gubernatorial conventions. "The election of 42 Muslim men and women is a historic event as this is the first time that Muslims have ever been elected in such large numbers, 25 from Texas alone."62 Best of all was the eletion or appointment of Muslims to public service positions. According to one count, these numbered just 17 nationwide.63
ASSESSMENT AND PREDICTIONS
The American Muslim Council claimed in a press release that the goal of registering one million Muslim voters was reached. A joint effort surveying four hundred individuals conducted by MPAC and The Minaret, a monthly magazine, indicated that 65 percent of the Muslim community had registered to vote, of which 76 percent actually voted. In Orange County, home to a rich and strong Muslim community, more than 90 percent of Muslims registered as Republicans.64Some organizations initiated a drive to use mosques to register Muslims as voters, requesting imams to give Friday sermons about the need to vote. The Muslim Women for America organized daycare and transportation to enable women to vote on election day.
And how did they vote? The results are unclear. UMA conducted a nationwide survey among Muslims in October 1996 and a second sampling one month later, with widely differing results. Exit polls showed a similar range. The MPAC-Minaret survey yielded a picture that closely mirrors the overall popular vote but an exit poll of five hundred Muslim voters conducted by the American Muslim Council gave very different figures. The huge discrepancy in numbers suggests that none of these poll results is authoritative. All that can be said with some certainty is that the "Muslim vote," such as it is, went more solidly for Clinton than did the nation as a whole. The "Muslim vote," such as it is, went more solidly for Clinton than did the nation as a whole.
A breakdown along ethnic lines points to Clinton's winning only 51 percent among Pakistani Americans, 61 percent among Arab Americans, and 65 percent among Muslims from India.65
Looking back, what really counted in 1996 was less the final vote tally of Muslims than the discussions and activities that preceded the vote, which established Muslims as a factor in U.S. elections. Looking ahead, two major groups will continue with some success their efforts to create a block of Muslim voters: Islamist organizations and ethnic associations. Islamists are a minority among Muslims and are not likely to become a majority, especially given that many Muslims in America have fled Islamist dictatorships. Ethnic associations stand a better chance of generating the mood necessary to vote as one community. The developments of 1996 have shown that Muslims from India and Pakistan are the most keen to play a role in American elections. It so happened in 1996 that the Pakistani ethnic associations assessed the presidential candidates much as did the Islamists, but this could easily change next time. In the aggregate, the Islamist and ethnic groups might succeed in mobilizing half of the immigrant Muslim community; the other half of American Muslims hold views not conforming with those who articulate Islamic sentiments.
The emergence of a Muslim voting block is by no means guaranteed. Nor is it certain to remain favorable to Democrats, as in 1996. Centered on foreign-policy issues, Muslim electoral allegiance is likely to change with the vagaries of U.S. foreign policy. For example, renewed conflict in Bosnia could see a waning of U.S. support for the Sarajevo government, in which case Muslim voters would be disappointed with Clinton. In all, many factors make the vote of Muslims highly volatile but worth courting.
** "Muslims Voted for Clinton," Eastern Times (New York), Nov./Dec. 1996, p.14.
1 The topic here is limited to immigrant Muslim communities, who make up some 60 percent of American Muslims, and does not not include converts, and specifically not the Nation of Islam, who have a quite distinct pattern of political involvement. In brief, Black American converts long ago veered toward the Republican camp, though in 1996 many returned to the Democrats.
2 No one knows how many Muslims live in the United States, but this common estimate is reasonable. In contrast, some Muslim spokesmen claim 6 million.
3 Hereafter, "Pakistani," for however different are Muslims in India and Pakistan, when abroad they generally merge into a single community.
4 Ghulam M. Haniff, "Muslims' Performance," Pakistan Link (Inglewood, Calif.), Dec. 13, 1996, p. 5. We rely heavily on Pakistan Link, for this weekly is in many ways superior to the other Muslim papers published in the United States. Essentially an ethnic (not a religious) paper, the Pakistan Link, is published in English with an Urdu section and reports in detail about the affairs of the Muslim community in the United States, providing more information than do those publications primarily concerned with purveying an ideology. It also presents a truly democratic forum for the most diverse standpoints, many of them touching upon Islam.
5 The present analysis is necessarily restricted to the thinking of the tiny minority of Muslims who articulate their views in public; but because we go beyond the extremely vocal Islamist minority (by relying on ethnic papers), we can assume that they represent a larger body of opinion. Still, these many limitations mean that this inquiry represents a step toward an analysis rather than an analysis proper.
6 See Salah As-Sawi, "Political Activity in American Society," As-Sirat al-Mustaqim (Pittsburgh, Penn.), Apr. 1996, pp. 8-15.
7 Abdul-Majid Jaffry, "American Muslims and the Elections," Pakistan Link, Nov. 1, 1996, p. 6.
8 Rafael Narbaez, "Islam versus Muslims," The Message (New York), Sept.-Oct. 1996, p. 48.
9 Muzammil Siddiqi, "Can Muslims Participate in the American Political System?" Pakistan Link, May 31, 1996, p. A17.
10 Umar Abdur Rahim Ocasio, "Voting and Islam -- The Muslim Dilemma," The Message, Sept.-Oct. 1996, p. 31. A mujahid is someone who engages in jihad, or sacred war.
11 Shahid Athar, "Why Should American Muslims Vote?" Pakistan Link, Oct. 11, 1996, p. 5.
12 "Rebuttal of Those Wishing to Join the American Political System," New Trend (Baltimore, Md. and Toronto), May 1996, p. 7. Siddiq heads the radical Islamist organization Jamaat al-Muslimin and runs the campaign to release Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman from federal prison.
13 Ama F. Shabazz, "Divine Criteria for Politicians," The Message, Sept.-Oct. 1996, p. 33.
14 "Hatta takum lana shakhsiya," editorial in As-Sirat al-Mustaqim, Apr. 1996, p. 3. The fact that Muslims might outnumber Jews provides added incentive: "There are an estimated 5.5 million American Jews, now about 2.1 percent of the U.S. population. Informed guesses put the number of American Muslims alone at 5 to 8 million. There are an additional 2 to 2.5 million Christian Arab Americans.... Clearly we already have the numerical edge." Richard H. Curtiss, "1996 Presents Election Opportunity for Muslim and Arab Americans," Pakistan Link, Oct. 11, 1996, p. 4.
15 The reference is to Aharon Klieman and Reuven Pedatzur, Re-Arming Israel: Defense Procurement Through the 1990's (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1991).
16 "AMA Hospitality Suites," Pakistan Link, Oct. 11, 1996, p. 27.
17 Salam al-Marayati, "Radical Republicans or Conservative Democrats: A Tale of Two Conventions," The Minaret (Los Angeles), Sept. 1996, p. 23.
18 Immigrants from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan make up about 30 percent of the Muslims in the United States; Arab Muslims constitute no more than half that number. In addition, there are some two million Americans of Christian Arab or partly Christian Arab origin.
19 See "Pakistan Community One of the Best Organized in the United States: Torricelli," Pakistan Link, Sept. 20, 1996, p. 24.
20 Abdullah Ghazi, "Who Deserves Muslim Votes?" The Minaret, Oct. 1996, p. 29.
21 Athar, "Why Should American Muslims Vote?" p. 5.
22 See Raana Akbar, "The 1996 Elections And The Pakistani American Muslims," The Minaret, Oct. 11, 1996, p. 15.
23 "AMA Hospitality Suites," p. 27.
24 See "AMA, Bay Area, Meeting With Republican Candidate James Fay," Pakistan Link, Aug. 30, 1996, p. A24.
25 See `Umar `Abdullah Sultan, "Positive and Negative Dimensions," Al-Ma`alim (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Feb.-Apr. 1993, pp. 4-10.
26 See Ma'mun Fandi, "San` ar-Ru'asa fi'l-Intikhabat al-Amrikiya," Al-Mujtama` (Kuwait), Sept. 17, 1996, pp. 37-39. The Arab American Leadership PAC, the National Muslim s for a Better America PAC, the American Task Force for Lebanon PAC, and the National Association of Arab Americans PAC contributed between $1,000 and $14,000 each.
27 Richard H. Curtiss, Stealth PACs: How Israel's American Lobby Seeks to Control U.S. Middle East Policy (Washington, D.C.: American Educational Trust, 1990), p. vi.
28 Haniff, "Muslims' Performance," p. 5.
29 Paul Merrion, "Flying High -- With the President on Air Force One," Pakistan Link, Aug. 23, 1996 (republished from Crain's Business Chicago); and "Rashid Chaudhry Among Top Ten Donors to Democrats, WSJ Reports," Pakistan Link, Nov. 1, 1996, p. 20. The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times ran other stories on Chaudhary that ethnic papers proudly reproduced.
30 Tauheeda Babar, "The AMA and the TAMA," Pakistan Link, Dec. 29, 1995, p. 6. The AMA also functions as a lobby for Islamist causes (and in this resembles the American Muslim Council).
31 See Mona Hassan, "Create A Muslim Voting Block," Islamic Horizons (Indianapolis, Ind.), Sept. 1993, p. 22.
32 "AMA Texas Hosts Symposium on 1996 U.S. Elections," Pakistan Link, Jan. 5, 1996, p. 24.
33 "AMA Hospitality Suites," p. 27.
34 "Muslim Organizations Actively Participate in Republican Convention," Pakistan Link, Aug. 23, 1996, p. 28. Having a female medical doctor in this position may have been intended to impress the American public.
36 Haniff, "Muslims' Performance," p. 5.
37 Richard H. Curtiss, "Editorial --American Muslims and the 1996 Presidential Election," The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, October 1996, pp. 15-16.
38 Arabic-speaking Islamists outside the United States tend to focus even more exclusively on the conflict with Israel. For example, see a Kuwaiti Islamist magazine editorial considering the 1996 U.S. elections, "Al-Khamis min Nufambar ... wa Awham `Arab," "The Fifth of November and Arab Illusions," Al-Mujtama`, Nov. 11, 1996, p. 9.
39 Akbar, "The 1996 Elections," p. 15.
40 Athar, "Why Should American Muslims Vote?" p. 5.
41 "UMA Survey Finds American Muslims Support Clinton," Pakistan Link, Nov. 1, 1996, p. 31.
42 See Lena H. Sun, "Some Asian Americans Fear Reduced Political Involvement," The Washington Post, Nov. 20, 1996, p. A6.
43 Curtiss, "1996 Presents Election Opportunity," p. 4.
44 "Area Muslims back winning candidates in '92 primaries," The Michigan Muslim (Detroit), Fall 1992, p. 1.
45 "AMA Hospitality Suites," p. 27.
46 For example, Ghazi, "Who Deserves Muslim Votes?" p. 29.
47 Ibid., p. 30.
48 Ras H. Siddiqi, "Why We Should Re-Elect Bill Clinton," Pakistan Link, Oct. 25, 1996, p. 30.
49 Haniff, "Muslims' Performance," p. 5. Newt Gingrich also won points on this score.
51 Ghazi, "Who Deserves Muslim Votes?" p. 31.
52 See Afzal Khan, "Presidential Candidates Pledge to Protect Muslims Against Discrimination," Pakistan Link, Nov. 1, 1996, p. 8.
53 See "Dole Seeks Last Minute Meeting With Muslim Leaders," Pakistan Link, Nov. 1, 1996, p. 1.
54 "UMA Survey," p. 31.
55 See "Summary of Comments," The Minaret, Dec. 1996, p. 20.
56 "UMA Survey," p. 31.
57 Khalid J. Siddiqi, "Muslim Voters Forgotten," Pakistan Link, Oct. 25, 1996, p. 5.
58 "Unless We Are of a Strong Personality," editorial in the monthly As-Sirat al-Mustaqim, Apr. 1996, p. 3.
59 Haniff, "Muslims' Performance," p. 5.
60 See "India Mourns Pressler Loss," Pakistan Link, Nov. 8, 1996, p. 16. Pressler had been the strongest advocate of sanctions against Pakistan because of its development of nuclear weapons.
61 Haniff, "Muslims' Performance," p. 5. APPNA stands for American Pakistani Physicians National Association.
62 "AMA Hospitality Suites," p. 27.
63 "Muslim Public Officials," The AMC Report, Nov./Dec. 1996.
64 "UMA Survey," p. 31.
65 American Muslim Council press release, Oct. 31, 1996.