By Masood Rab, AMPEC
Are Muslims ready to participate in the US political process in a responsible manner?
Many issues are stake in the election of candidates for political offices in US. The American Muslim community is recognizing the importance of being active in the political arena of this country. Many Muslims contribute money, time and other resources in the process of political activism – mostly making financial contributions and getting photo opportunities in return.
The Muslim community in Michigan now has taken another step in the direction of proactive politics – Vote Smart.
The un-scientific survey conducted by AMPEC highlights the Muslim community issues, which need to be used for evaluating the political candidates to benefit the Muslim community and America. The Muslim community issues, that are most dear to the community and need to be presented to the political candidates for 2008 elections, cover the breadth and depth of the American life spectrum. The analysis of the AMPEC survey conducted by AMPEC and responses provided by the Muslim community is summarized here to determine the most critical issues and then learn about the candidate positions for casting ballot in January 15, 2008 primary election in Michigan.
The most highly rated issue for the Muslim community is the War in Iraq. The survey asked,
â€œThe United States was justified in its invasion of Iraq in 2003â€, the response was: Strongly Agree: 1%: Agree: 2%; No Opinion: 4%; Disagree: 16%; Strongly Disagree: 74%; with 2% no input (with a small error in rounding off to nearest whole number).
The American Muslim community considers the US invasion of Iraq as unjustified by a whopping ratio of 90 to 3% while 6% had no opinion.
The next highly rated issue was the Foreign Policy of the American Government. When asked, â€œAmerica should do more to negotiate a peaceful two-state solution between Israel and Palestineâ€, the response was: Strongly Agree: 42%: Agree: 35%; No Opinion: 8%; Disagree: 6%; Strongly Disagree: 6%; with 2% no input (with a small error in rounding off to nearest whole number). The American Muslim community feels that a peaceful resolution of Israeli-Palestinian issue would promote world peace and 77% of the surveyed consider a two state solution as a step for peace.
The next two issues that the American Muslim community considered more important were Security and Education. When asked, â€œThe USA Patriot Act has allowed government officials to engage in racial profiling and discrimination against particular ethnic and religious groupsâ€, the response was: Strongly Agree: 44%: Agree: 32%; No Opinion: 11%; Disagree: 2%; Strongly Disagree: 6%; with 5% no input.
When asked, â€œVouchers should be available so parents can send their kids to a school of their choiceâ€, the response was: Strongly Agree: 30%: Agree: 46%; No Opinion: 10%; Disagree: 11%; Strongly Disagree: 2%; with 2% no input (with a small error in rounding off to nearest whole number).
The candidate positions summarized below on the â€œWar in Iraqâ€ are obtained from NY Times, NPR and other miscellaneous sources.
Vote Smart on January 15, 2008
Based on the analysis of one of the issues of importance to the American Muslim community and America, AMPEC strongly recommends voting REPUBLICAN and for RON PAUL in the Michigan Primary on January 15.
Position: Absolutely oppose the war in Iraq. (Oct 2007); Bring out as many combat troops as quickly as possible. (Oct 2007); Goal to remove all troops from Iraq by 2013, but no pledge. (Sep 2007)
Voting Record: Voted for Iraq war based on available info; now would not. (Apr 2007); Critic of Iraq war, but wonâ€™t recant 2002 vote in its favor. (Nov 2006); Regrets Bushâ€™s handling of war, but not her war vote. (Oct 2006); Voted YES on redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008. (Mar 2007)
Position: End combat missions & focus on removing all combat troops. (Sep 2007); 40,000 troops out by 2009, but no pledge for all out by 2013. (Sep 2007); Focus on political progress in Iraq. (Sep 2007); All combat troops out of Iraq in the first year in office. (Oct 2007)
Voting Record: Apologized for Iraq war vote; others must search conscience. (Apr 2007); Wrong on Iraq war vote about WMDs and about Bushâ€™s lead-up. (Feb 2007); Got war vote wrong based on bad intelligence and Bush incompetence. (Feb 2007); Made mistake in voting for Iraq war resolution. (Dec 2006)
Position: Winning in Iraq is one battle in overall terrorist war. (Aug 2007); Weâ€™ve never won a war while discussing how to retreat. (Sep 2007); Desirable but unneeded to ask Congress to attack Iran nukes. (Oct 2007); Democrat timetable for retreat â€œfundamentally irresponsibleâ€. (May 2007); We did not invite the 9/11 attack by attacking Iraq. (May 2007); Keep option open to attack Al Qaeda in Pakistan unilaterally. (Aug 2007); Withdrawal from Iraq encourages future terror attacks. (Nov 2006); Failure should never be the option; self-fulfilling prophecy. (May 2007); No need to understand reasons for terrorism-just stop them. (Oct 2001)
Position: We needed 300,000 troops to win Iraq; must finish the job. (May 2007); Many donâ€™t comprehend the threat: they want our obliteration. (Sep 2007); We made Saudis rich; pressure them to help win with honor. (Aug 2007); Donâ€™t judge Iraq war while weâ€™re in the middle of the war. (May 2007); Opposing Bushâ€™s troop surge is a dangerous position. (Jan 2007); Make sure we finish the job in Iraq and finish it right. (Jan 2007); Strength is more effective deterrent to war than weakness. (Jan 2007)
Position: I would much rather lose a campaign than lose a war. (Oct 2007); Bring troops home the right way: home with honor. (Sep 2007); Surge is working; let it continue until it succeeds. (Sep 2007); Support the surge even if benchmarks are not met. (Aug 2007). Okay to leave troops in Iraq for 100 years if no casualties. (Jan 2008).
Voting Record: Congress has no authority to cut off funds for Iraqi use. (Jan 2007); Voted NO on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007. (Jun 2006); Voted NO on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Nov 2005)
Position: Leave troops for protection of Americans & counter-terrorism. (Sep 2007); Hopes to remove all troops from Iraq by 2013, but no pledge. (Sep 2007); Surge has not succeeded because it ignores political issues. (Sep 2007); Tell people the truth: quickest is 1-2 brigades per month. (Sep 2007) Deal with al Qaeda on Pakistan border, but not with nukes. (Aug 2007); Get al Qaeda hiding in hills between Afghanistan & Pakistan. (Aug 2007); Military action in Pakistan if we have actionable intelligence (Aug 2007)
Voting Record: Late to vote against war is not late to oppose war. (Jun 2007); Spending on the Cold War relics should be for the veterans. (Jun 2007); Would have voted no to authorize the President to go to war. (Jul 2004); Voted YES on redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008. (Mar 2007); Voted NO on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007. (Jun 2006): Voted YES on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Nov 2005)
Position: Mercantilist oil dependency was reason for war. (Oct 2007); We went into Iraq under false pretenses of WMD and 9/11. (Sep 2007); Radicals come to kill us because we occupy their lands. (Sep 2007); Preemptive war is against Christian doctrine of just war. (Sep 2007); Take marching orders from Constitution; not from al Qaeda. (Sep 2007); Neocons hijacked our foreign policy to invade Iraq. (Sep 2007); Iraq war is illegal; undeclared wars never end & we lose. (Aug 2007)
Voting Record: Voted against war because Iraq was not a national threat. (May 2007); Opposes Iraq war and opposes path toward Iran war. (Jan 2007); Voted YES on redeploying US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days. (May 2007); Voted NO on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date. (Jun 2006); Voted NO on approving removal of Saddam & valiant service of US troops. (Mar 2004); Voted NO on authorizing military force in Iraq. (Oct 2002)
Position: After surge, move to support phase, based in Kuwait. (Sep 2007); Slow progress vs. frightening consequences of withdrawal. (Aug 2007); Itâ€™s time for people of America to show a surge of support. (Aug 2007); Keep option to attack Al Qaeda in Pakistan, but donâ€™t say it. (Aug 2007); Right to invade Iraq, but not what came after. (Jun 2007); Iraq part of global jihadist effort to bring down the West. (May 2007); Donâ€™t decide policy by polls; donâ€™t leave Iraq precipitously. (May 2007); Withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake. (Dec 2006)
Position: Stabilizing Iraq, and not leaving, is the right policy. (Oct 2007); Iraq certainly had WMDs in the past & would have nukes now. (Oct 2007); World becomes more dangerous if we leave Iraq. (Aug 2007); I would do essentially what the presidentâ€™s (Bush) doing in Iraq. (Jun 2007); Iraq is a war between civilization and evil. (Jun 2007); Internationalizing war effort will not win the war. (Jun 2007); If world doesnâ€™t stop Iran nukes, Israel will. (May 2007); President must decide on war based on unclear evidence. (Jun 2007)
Voting Record: Voting for the war then against funding is just poll-based. (Jun 2007); Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq. (Oct 2002);
Next Week â€“ More on candidate positions on the Muslim community issues.