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February 13, 2016 11:09 AM

What are Swing states and why they matter

The presidential election results are determined by the Electoral College. The constitution allows each state to decide how its Electoral College votes will be distributed. All states, except Maine and Nebraska, use a winner-take-all approach. That means, if a Candidate wins California, he will have all 55 of California's Electoral College Votes. When candidates begin looking at how many voters in each state support them or oppose them, they can safely assume that certain states are going to vote for them. Swing states are the states in the middle, where neither Republicans nor Democrats have a clear majority. Those state's votes matter the most to presidential candidates because winning the voters in the swing states could secure them them a victory.

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October 25, 2012 3:09 PM

10 Most Islamophobic Moments

The 10 Most Islamophobic Moments in the 2012 Elections

From Allen West to Michele Bachmann, these are the most hateful examples of bigotry against Muslims this campaign

When we’re all proven wrong and living in a bacon-less hellscape of Shariah law ruled by the iron fist of Mullah Obama, we can’t say we weren’t warned. According to the right-wing fringe, racism is dead — but long live Islamophobia, for there is jihad in every mosque and we must be vigilant.

But Islamophobia — even from elected officials — is still dramatically undercovered by the media. So you might easily have missed some of these 10 most disgraceful examples of bigotry, ignorance and hate — from obscure county parties to the halls of Congress — during an election cycle with plenty to go around:

10. Allen West is Allen West – Florida Rep. Allen West is known for making inflammatory statements about pretty much everyone, but he has particularly targeted Muslims. This cycle alone, he’s commemorated 9/11 by screening an anti-Islamic film, said that Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison “really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established,” and another time theorized that “George Bush got snookered into going into some mosque, taking his shoes off, and then saying that Islam was a religion of peace.”

9. Republicans go after one of their own – When David Ramadan, a longtime Republican Party activist and protege of Grover Norquist,  ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2011, the Islamophobia network sprang into action. Norquist, of course, is a secret Muslim Brotherhood agent according to these people, so his actual Muslim bud must be worse. Pam Geller called him an “Islamic supremacist,” David Horowitz warned Virginia Republicans not to “lie down in the camel’s bed,” and Frank Gaffney accused him of having ties to Hezbollah. There were nasty ads and exchanges at town halls, but Ramadan won the GOP primary and eventually a seat in the House of Delegates.

8. And again, but this time they call him a “terrorist” – The Islamophobia trickles down all the way to the local level, we found, in the case of Nezar Hamze, a Republican from Florida who tried to join the Broward County Republican Executive Committee but got turned down by a vote of 158 to 11. He met all the requirements, but people in his own party distributed pamphlets labeling him a “terrorist.” The basis? Hamze is head of the local chapter of CAIR.

7. Obama the closeted Muslim – Plenty of people have suggested that President Obama is a secret Muslim this cycle, but California Republican congressional candidate Sam Aanestad wins the award for his remarkable forthrightness: “I was asked, do I think [Obama]‘s a Muslim, and the answer is yes, that is his background. That is his beginning. Is he a Christian today? There’s no way that you or I can tell that. But his background, his upbringing, his tradition, his holiday observances all come from a Muslim background.”

6. Even worse than Allen West – After Allen West fled his old district after redistricting, the good people of Florida’s 22nd got a new Islamophobe to kick around: Adam Hasner, the former Florida House majority leader. The Republican is a close personal friend of anti-Islam bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, has invited notoriously anti-Muslim Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders to speak in Florida, and once skipped the Florida Legislature’s opening prayers because they were being delivered by an imam. When Salon highlighted his Islamophobic record in August, Geller said it was only a matter of time before we were “getting measured for a suicide vest.”

5. A real-life Muslim in Congress! – Democratic Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison was the first Muslim elected to Congress, so he’s used to it, but his Republican opponent, Chris Fields, accused him this year in a mailer of being “militantly anti-America.” That’s nothing compared to how Fields’ GOP primary opponent came right out and called him a “radical Islamist” in the statement announcing her candidacy for his seat. In fact, Ellison’s religion was her primary motivation for running.

4. A real-life Muslim in Congress! Part 2 — Democratic Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana was the second Muslim elected to Congress and has so far attracted less hate than Ellison, but when he was  praising the innovative ways parochial schools remain relevant, including Muslim schools, it caused a grade-A right-wing freakout, complete with hyperventilating from Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh about how Carson wanted to force students to learn the Quran. One assumes that if Carson had praised St. Mary’s Junior High School instead of a madrassa, no one would have batted an eyelash.

Read more at Salon.

October 02, 2012 9:14 AM

Six reasons why Muslims should vote Democrat!

Six reasons why Muslims should vote Democrat!

Abdul Malik Mujahid

A huge majority of Muslim Americans, 89%, voted for President Barack Obama, while two percent voted for John McCain. That was in 2008. Will it happen again? There is a real risk that many Muslim Americans may actually just stay home instead of voting – that is unless those who are convinced, like me, of why we need to make a major effort to get the vote out.

Muslim frustration with Obama has turned into cynicism. However it is important to note that Democrats in general have been standing up for the rights of Muslim Americans while most of the Republican Party seems to have little regard for the Muslim community.

Here are six reasons why I am campaigning for the Democrats this election.

 1. Republicans have introduced 73 anti-Islam bills in 31 states and the U.S. Congress in the last two years. So far, six states have passed bills intended to interfere in your religious practice as a Muslim American.

Who opposed and voted against these bills? Democrats.

 All states where these bills were passed had Republican majority.

2. Most Islamophobes are Republican: Rep Keith Ellison recently told Mother Jones that the Republican Party is "Basically a Bigoted Party." Not only are some of the Republican representatives proudly vocal about their bigoted remarks against Muslims, most of the right-wing bigots who are leading the anti-Muslim campaigns with millions of dollars are Republicans. Pamela Geller who led the campaign against New York’s Park 51 Islamic Center, erroneously dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque”, is a Republican. So is David Yerushalmi, a white supremacist leading the Republican’s anti-sharia crusade.

3. The New McCarthy Hearings by Peter King: a Republican Congressman for New York, the chair of the House Homeland Security committee started McCarthy-style Congressional hearings on American Muslims.

Which Congresspersons opposed him? Yvette Clarke, Sheila Jackson Lee, Andre Carson, Keith Ellison. What is common among them. They are all Democrats.

4. Elected Muslim Representatives: Which Party has the most elected Congresspersons who are Muslims? When Rep. Keith Ellison was first elected, the Chairman of the Democratic Party, Governor Howard Dean, invited him to the party’s headquarters and proudly introduced him to a few of us stating: “The Democratic Party has the honor of electing the first Muslim to the Congress.” Now there are two Muslim Congressmen. Republicans have yet to elect any Muslim Representatives to the Congress.

5. Anti-Immigration laws: In the last two years 164 anti-immigration laws have been passed by states. Most of these laws were presented and voted in by aggressive, right-wing Republicans. Most elected officials who opposed these laws were Democrats.

6. Democratic Party Bylaws Require Diversity: The Democratic Party’s by-laws require party delegation with minority participation, unlike the Republican Party. That is the reason the Democratic Party convention looks more like America: open and inclusive.

Voting for the Democratic Party and Obama does not mean that we accept everything is good with them.

 The Democratic Party and President Obama are definitely the best choice Muslims have. They are better than Republicans for the American poor, minorities, and way smarter if you watch the convention speeches.

However, not everything is right. Inhumane drone attacks, killing civilians, and not being able to shut down Guantanamo Bay are the major issues Muslim Americans believe are hurting humanity and America.

Voting must never be meant going silent on issues one does not agree with. If anti-war Democrats and Muslims would have organized better and continued to be active with their allies against wars, against indefinite detentions, and against drone attacks, and against the violations of our constitution, President Obama would have been forced to do better. 

However, a citizen’s duty must not end by voting. We must contribute our time and money to make sure that they stay on the course you like.

There are issues on which many Muslims don’t agree with any party or any candidates. However, isolation will not empower the community. Many times I find some young South Asian members of a Middle East-based, dying party, Hizbut- Tahreer, distributing flyers against voting outside a masjid. I thought of blacks and women who died to fight for their right to vote. And here are some Muslims who would like to disenfranchise Muslims based on some freak theology of isolation. I actually believe it might be sinful not to vote

Let’s vote. Let’s participate. Lets’ continue to speak up. Participation will develop human connections, relationships for us and for our future. America needs it’s Muslims in the world where conflict is rising. 

I am anti-war and proud of it. I chose Obama over Romney. I chose the Democratic Party over the Republican Party. 

Please join us in our long road to the empowerment of our community.