Anti-Islamic sentiment in the United States is arguably at an all-time high. Muslims all across the country are paying the price for the horrific crimes of a few extremists halfway across the world. They are being demonized, harassed, and even physically assaulted for following a certain religion — and to make matters worse, instead of condemning such incidents and correcting such mindsets, some political leaders (Republican presidential candidates to be precise) are actually condoning it.
Billionaire mogul Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have proven themselves as two of the most hateful White House hopefuls in the race for president by suggesting a ban on Muslims entering the country, police patrolling their neighborhoods and even Muslim registration.
The prospect of either of these men becoming the next commander in chief scares many Muslim Americans, which in turn pushed them to register to vote in the November elections.
“The fear and apprehension in the American Muslim community has never been at this level,” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The New York Times. “The anti-Islamic tidal wave is spurring civic participation.”
The nonprofit organization recently released a survey suggesting the majority of Muslim voters identify as Democrats and over half plan on supporting Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton in the election. In addition to that, about 74% of Muslim-Americans said they would vote in presidential nominating contests because of the growing Islamophobia in the country.
“The best answer to this anti-Muslim rhetoric is engagement in the political process,” said Naeem Baig, the president of the Islamic Circle of North America. “It is a matter of survival for the American Muslim community.”
As the Times reports, Muslims organizations are encouraging mosques and Islamic centers to turn themselves into voter registration centers so that Muslims can make their voices heard at the polls. Moreover, they also plan to ramp up their registration drives during Ramadan when the attendance peaks.
Interestingly, Trump’s anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric also sparked a similar phenomenon when more immigrants began applying for citizenship just so they can vote against him.