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Tuesday, 29 August, 2000, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
Muslims 'key' to US elections
Louis Farrakhan
Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan has been pushing the Islamic agenda
By Jeff Phillips in Washington

A leading American polling organisation, Zogby International, says that American Muslims are fast becoming a swing factor in determining the outcome of November's presidential elections in some key states.

A number of Muslim American groups have started a campaign to register eligible Muslim voters in an attempt to achieve maximum impact on the November elections.

Survey facts
46.9% of Muslim Americans plan to vote Democrat
16.1% plan to vote for Republican
77.2% want UN santions against Iraq dropped
88.7% want an independent Palestinian state
There are just over six million Muslims in the United States, up to about one million of whom are likely to vote in November.

Too close to call

This may seem insignificant compared with the numbers of other ethnic and religious constituencies.

But Muslims are overwhelmingly concentrated in a number of key states - New York, New Jersey, Ohio, California and Illinois - which are currently too close to call between the Republican and Democratic parties and are likely to determine the outcome of the election.

The American Muslim Council, which helped carry out the poll, said it was working with a number of other Muslim groups to try to register as many Muslim voters as possible.

Joseph Lieberman
Muslims welcomed the Democrats' choice of Joe Lieberman
Voters will also be sent a scorecard setting out the positions of the rival parties on issues important to Muslims.

Left and right

The Council will not, however, endorse a party, although a political group affiliated to the Council, Muslims for a Better America, says it will.

The poll shows that Muslims are more likely to vote Democrat than Republican, although the Muslim Council says it has problems with both parties.

The poll showed that as a religious constituency, Muslims tended to be conservative in their views, strongly against abortion and gay rights, for example, and in favour of the death penalty.

As an ethnic urban community, however, Muslims tend to the left, favouring public spending on health and social welfare programmes and in favour of the minimum wage.

The Council said it welcomed the selection of Senator Joe Lieberman as vice-presidential candidate for the Democrats as the first Jewish candidate for the office, and said that it would help make possible the election of a Muslim in the future.

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