In several dozen meetings Monday at the state Capitol, lobbyists asked Bay Area lawmakers to back bills that would boost wages for women, temporarily freeze tuition for in-state college students and preserve Californians' privacy.

But these were no ordinary lobbyists. They were Muslim students, business owners and community leaders who traveled to Sacramento for a "lobby day" organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

As California's Muslim population grows and gets more assertive politically, lawmakers in Sacramento will be forced to pay closer attention to the relatively small but vocal interest group's requests, political experts say. There are roughly 200,000 Muslims living in the Bay Area, according to research by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

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