CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA— Throughout the past few years, the U.S. Democratic Party has embraced many different demographic groups. One of the newest is Muslim Democrats. Four years ago, a group of new Muslim voters formed a caucus within the party.
The number of Muslims living in America has increased by two-thirds since the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil 11 years ago. Many emigrated here and they live with discrimination from some Americans who connect all Muslims with the attacks. Half of all young Muslims under age 29 in the United States are registered to vote. But a Gallop survey also shows that number is the lowest among the country’s main religious groups.
Nadia Hussain-a delegate from California-- blogs about young American Muslims.
“They don't come from this lineage of voting and civic engagement, and because of some of the barriers that have been happening with anti-Muslim rhetoric that has been happening in our environment nationally they're even further isolated,” Hussain said.
The two Muslims elected to Congress are trying to change that. Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota became the first Muslim elected to Congress in 2006. He spoke to the Democratic Muslim Caucus ---pointing out incidents of discrimination in America.
"All of them simply demonstrate to us the essential importance of engaging and being involved and shaping not only the Democratic Party, but the communities we all come from,” Ellison said.
The Muslim Democratic organizations would like to get the same clout of other special interest groups. Of the 6,000 delegates here at the convention, 100 are Muslim… twice as many as four years ago.
Ohio Delegate Cathina Hourani is a native American who converted to Islam years ago. She says having a large voting bloc could change the way other Americans view Muslims.
“If we band together and vote. Start voting for those representatives that have our best interest at heart, that represent us as Muslims in our community, we would no longer have the hate and the fear,” Hourani said.
Ninety percent of American Muslims voted for Barack Obama in the last election. These delegates hope to mobilize others like them to vote again… for the same man. At the Democratic National Convention.