Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more ➡
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Add note
Save to My Library
Sync to mobile
Look up keyword
Like this
12Activity
×
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Muslims in Western Politics -- Muslim Underrepresentation

Muslims in Western Politics -- Muslim Underrepresentation

Ratings: (0)|Views: 4,221|Likes:
Edited by Abdulkader H. Sinno; published by Indiana University Press. This book may be purchased from IU Press at: http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=84759

Looking closely at relations between Muslims and their host countries, Abdulkader H. Sinno and an international group of scholars examine questions of political representation, identity politics, civil liberties, immigration, and security issues. While many have problematized Muslims in the West, this volume take a unique stance by viewing Muslims as a normative, and even positive, influence in Western politics. Squarely political and transatlantic in scope, the essays in this collected work focus on Islam and Muslim citizens in Europe and the Americas since 9/11, the European bombings, and the recent riots in France. Main topics include Muslim political participation and activism, perceptions about Islam and politics, Western attitudes about Muslim visibility in the political arena, radicalization of Muslims in an age of apparent shrinking of civil liberties, and personal security in politically uneasy times.

(Chapter 5 is titled Muslim Underrepresentation in American Politics)
Edited by Abdulkader H. Sinno; published by Indiana University Press. This book may be purchased from IU Press at: http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=84759

Looking closely at relations between Muslims and their host countries, Abdulkader H. Sinno and an international group of scholars examine questions of political representation, identity politics, civil liberties, immigration, and security issues. While many have problematized Muslims in the West, this volume take a unique stance by viewing Muslims as a normative, and even positive, influence in Western politics. Squarely political and transatlantic in scope, the essays in this collected work focus on Islam and Muslim citizens in Europe and the Americas since 9/11, the European bombings, and the recent riots in France. Main topics include Muslim political participation and activism, perceptions about Islam and politics, Western attitudes about Muslim visibility in the political arena, radicalization of Muslims in an age of apparent shrinking of civil liberties, and personal security in politically uneasy times.

(Chapter 5 is titled Muslim Underrepresentation in American Politics)

More info:

Published by: Voices and Visions Project on Oct 28, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See More
See less

09/16/2010

pdf

text

original

 
5
Muslim Underrepresentation in American Politics
 Abdulkader H. Sinno
Up to 2 percent o the American population is Muslim or o Muslim background,and American Muslims are, on average, more educated and a uent than theaverage American. Yet, there is only one Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison,who was elected in 2006 rom Minnesota’s Fifh Congressional District, no stategovernors or lieutenant governors, only our state legislators, and very ew ed-eral appointed o cials, such as National Institutes o Health director Elias Zer-houni, and ambassadors Zalmay Khalilzad and Shirin ahir-Kheli.
1
Tere isextreme underrepresentation in political appointments even at lower levels, such as on the sta o members o Congress and to advisory committees. In contrast,other Western countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and theNetherlands have much higher proportions o parliamentarians who either areMuslim by aith or have parents rom traditionally Muslim immigrant groups.In this chapter, I broadly describe Muslim representation in Western parlia- ments and attempt to explain American Muslim underrepresentation in com- parative context.I do not assume or imply that American Muslims have consistent collectivepolitical interests, orm a cohesive community, or eel that they can only be
 
 · Abdulkader H. Sinno
 adequately represented by someone who is their co-religionist—even though thesemay very well be, or could become, reasonable generalizations. I also do not neces-sarily imply that a Muslim is better represented by a Muslim than a non-Muslim orthat an American Muslim elected o cial represents his district any dierently than a non-Muslim one. I simply attempt to solve the puzzle o American Muslimunderrepresentation, almost complete absence, in elected and appointed positions. Tis underrepresentation is particularly puzzling because attitudes toward Mus- lims are more positive in the United States than in many European countries with higher levels o representation and because American Muslims, unlike European Muslims, have the socioeconomic advantages (advanced education, high incomes)that normally encourage incorporation into state elites.Some o the explanations I explore are American Muslims’ reluctance to par-ticipate and compete, poor understanding o the political process, the incentives o the electoral system, district size, the inuence o aggressively pro-Israel andEvangelical organizations, and general public hostility toward Muslims. I arguethat while electoral systems and popular hostility toward Muslims alone do notexplain much, the combination o large majoritarian districts with even a moder-ate level o popular hostility toward members o the geographically diuse mi- nority is sucient to explain American Muslim underrepresentation.
Muslim Identity and American Muslim Numbers
Like other authors in this volume, I do not consider “Muslim” to necessarily indi-cate a religious identity, but an identity that may have religious, racial, political, orcultural dimensions. Tis is particularly useul in studying the dynamics o po-litical representation. Te politicized identities o elected representatives, perhaps more so than the rest o us, shif with circumstances and expectations. Even thosewho dene themselves as “culturally Muslim” or even as “secular Muslim” ndthemselves dealing with “Muslim” issues and being considered a “Muslim” by their own political parties when they wish to appear diverse, by minority con-stituents who eel connected to them or who do not trust them, by jealous rivalswishing to discredit them, by the media when they need “Muslim” voices, and by civil society’s organizations. For example, Said el-Khadraoui, Belgium’s secularand very European-looking member o the European Parliament, who was born to a mixed Moroccan-Flemish couple, was celebrated as a member o an “ethnicminority” by his colleagues on the Parliament’s newly ormed Anti-Racism andDiversity Intergroup.
2
A broader, more inclusive, denition o who is a Muslim isuseul to understand the broad range o dynamics that aect Muslim representa-tion. I thereore consider a parliamentarian to be Muslim i he or she is Muslim by aith or has at least one parent who is Muslim by aith or belongs to a group that istraditionally Muslim.
 
Muslim Underrepresentation in American Politics · 
Te number o Muslims in the United States is both di cult to estimate andsubject to highly politicized debates. It is di cult to estimate the number o Mus-lims because survey methods are not particularly efective or counting unevenly distributed and hard-to-dene small populations and because o ear o divulgingidentity by members o a vulnerable minority, diferences in sel-identicationamong those who belong to ethnic groups that are traditionally Muslim, and in-ation o attendance numbers by mosque o cials. Polls conducted since 2001produced estimates that vary between 1.5 million and 7 million.
3
In addition, or-ganizations that want to empower American Muslims and some among thosewho wish to keep them rom inuencing U.S. oreign policy in the Middle Easthave engaged in public squabbles over those numbers in the belie that perceivednumbers translate into political inuence.
4
Phone surveys tend to produce the lowest estimates o Muslim Americans,between 1.5 million and 2.5 million, perhaps because members o this group areless inclined to give out personal inormation to a stranger over the phone thanother Americans. Estimates based on mosque attendance tend to be the highest,in the 6–7 million range, perhaps because mosque leaders exaggerate the size o their constituencies or because the multiplier that researchers use to extrapolatethe size o the community rom mosque attendance is inated. It is likely that therapidly growing population o Americans who are Muslims by aith or descendrom traditionally Muslim immigrant groups alls between the two ranges o es-timates, at some 4–5 million, around 1.5 percent o the U.S. population.Counting Muslims in Canada and some European countries is less di cult. Canada and the United Kingdom ask residents to choose a religion in their cen-suses, even i they do not practice. Te 2001 censuses ound that the Muslim Ca-nadian proportion o the population doubled in a decade to 2 percent o the totaland that the UK Muslim population is at some 3 percent o the total. Estimatingthe number o Muslims in most other European countries does pose serious methodological di culties but is more manageable than in the United States be-cause o the strong association between national immigrant groups and religion,regional concentration, and the smaller size and populations o European coun- tries (Brown 2000). As o 2007, some twenty-two million Muslims live in theWest, an estimated three percent o the combined populations o the UnitedStates, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand (around 740 mil-lion residents).
Are Muslims Poorly Represented in American Politics?
able 5.1 lists the names o Muslim members o Western legislatures as o Decem-ber 2006, the number o parliamentarians in these legislatures, estimates o theproportion o Muslims in those countries and in the legislatures, and the ratio o 

Activity (12)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
1 thousand reads
hujjatuna liked this
zayanyassin liked this
Ahmad Elsayed liked this
zultrsb689 liked this
Dr. Afroz Alam liked this
mohsinulm liked this
greatcivilianz liked this
milneg liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->