The presidential election in the United States may be 18 months away but concern is already growing at the extent of anti-Muslim sentiments being expressed by leading Republicans seeking the party's nomination.

Following last week's first debate of Republican runners organised by CNN, at least two prominent groups representing mainstream American Muslims have issued statements expressing alarm at the spread of Islamophobia by those GOP candidates.

Both the Council on American-Islamist Relations (CAIR) and the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT) issued statements condemning anti-Muslim sentiment expressed by candidates during the nationally televised debate in New Hampshire.

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