Can Muslims Swing the Vote?
MPAC-ISPU Forum Explores Potential for Change

May 6, 2012

On Wednesday, April 18, MPAC joined with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) and the National Network for Arab American Communities to host an interactive forum about the role minority groups, such as Muslim Americans, will have in this year’s elections.

HEAR: Full Audio of the “Can Muslims Swing the Vote?” forum (

“For the Muslim American community, the past few years since the election of President Obama has been a critical time for us,” said Haris Tarin, the Director of MPAC’s DC Office. “Our communities have been in the spotlight, and there has been a lot of conversation about us and the issues we care about. We need to bring some facts and clarity to this topic because we know will have an impact on the electoral process, be that in Michigan, New York, Florida and California.”

At the discussion, MPAC and ISPU released two new studies, MPAC’s analysis of young Muslim Americans, which will be officially released in late May and ISPU’s “Engaging American Muslims: Political Trends and Attitudes.”

Both reports highlighted the increasing political and civic engagement among Muslim communities, including similar findings such as:

  • high level of political awareness among Muslim households
  • more interest in domestic policy rather than foreign policy and
  • increased civic engagement among “religious” individuals.

“One of the things that we found was there was not a lot of action among the youth, but there was a lot of talk about political discussion. What seemed to be the case was there was a disconnect between talking the talk and walking the walk,” said Alejandro Beutel, MPAC’s Legislative and Policy Analyst. “We need to encourage youth and empower them to be more involved.”

These facts are an inherent part of the Muslim American experience and can guide our recommendations on both internal and external dialogues.

Furthermore, these timely reports give us insight into a media-conscious community that has yet to be tapped for its political potential. By taking these findings and applying them to a contiguous election strategy with the goal of being part of the national conversation, we can pragmatically bring focus to issues important to our communities.



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