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Voice of America

Few Muslims Are In US Politics — And It's Not Getting Better

And it's not just running for office — Muslims are also less likely to vote than other religious groups.

By Melissa Prax | October 24, 2016

Muslims are a growing part of the U.S.' population — but they're often underrepresented in politics, partly because few run for office. 

In 2000, 700 Muslims ran for various levels of office. But in 2002, only around 70 ran. 

That post-9/11 number hasn't changed much since. 

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SEE MORE: Black And Muslim — A Complicated Identity

Potential backlash can make it risky to run. Candidates often say they receive threats or Islamophobic comments. 

"There are also some people who think having a Muslim will hurt the party," National CAIR board member Sarwat Husain said. 

But another issue is the number of Muslims who vote. Compared to other religions, Muslims are less likely to participate in politics. 

There are pockets around the country, where Muslim politicians — at least on the local level — are running and winning public office. Those areas typically have a large Muslim electorate. 

"I am proud that I'm Muslim, but of course I'm not going to put my religion into my work as a council[man]. In the council, I am American before I am Muslim," Hamtramck, Michigan, city councilman Saad Almasmari said. 

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