The American Muslim minority community has become a more important player on the political landscape, especially in key swing states, says a report titled Engaging American Muslims: Political Trends and Attitudes released in April last by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.
According to Farid Senzai, author of the report, although it is true that American Muslims constitute a small percentage of the national population, they are concentrated in key swing states such as Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida. "Despite being very diverse and far from monolithic, this constituency is growing faster than any other religious community and has become increasingly visible and sophisticated in its political engagement. Republicans who found the Muslim community an easy target in the primaries may find themselves in trouble in the states that may determine the winner of the election."
In an OpEd in New York Times, Farid Senzai, pointed out that as the 2012 presidential election picks up steam, Republican candidates find it tempting and beneficial to bash Muslims as a way to attract voters. He went on to say: "In the wake of the 2010 midterm elections, "Americans are learning what Europeans have known for years: Islam-bashing wins votes," as the journalist Michael Scott Moore wrote that last November. At the time, many of the 85 new Republican House members buoyed by the surging Tea Party movement found the political virtues of anti-Muslim rhetoric an easy way to prove their mettle to the surging conservative base.
While an anti-Muslim strategy may have worked in the past, it is risky because many agree that the outcome of the 2012 presidential election will probably be determined in no more than twelve states, Senzai warned and added that these are the same states where minority groups, including American Muslims, are likely to play a decisive role.