American Muslims in the 2016 Election and Beyond

Objectives

In the midst of a polarized and heated election season in 2016 where Muslims were frequent subjects of national debate, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) set out to discover what American Muslims wanted for themselves. ISPU researchers set out to answer three key questions:

  1. Why: What is the case for American Muslim civic and political engagement?
  2. What: What are the main policy priorities for American Muslim communities
  3. How: What do American Muslim communities need to do in the short term and the long term to increase political participation?

Methodology

This report is based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative research techniques. ISPU researchers based their analysis and recommendations on:

Community Brief

  • In the midst of a polarized and heated election season in 2016 where Muslims were frequent subjects of national debate, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) set out to discover what American Muslims wanted for themselves. ISPU researchers set out to answer three...

  • Download the Full Report (PDF) In the midst of a polarized and heated election season in 2016 where Muslims were frequent subjects of national debate, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) set out to discover what American Muslims wanted for themselves. ISPU researchers...

Additional ISPU Reports & Resources

  • The American Muslim condition is paradoxical. Muslims in the U.S. live in the best of circumstances and the worst of times. Most tend to be mainstream, moderate and middle class. They are educated and are well integrated into American society. In fact, they are seen...

  • If the last two elections are any indication, candidates in the 2016 presidential race may be tempted to engage in Muslim-bashing – playing off national security anxieties and fostering racial and religious animus – to win the vote. But anti-Muslim bigotry comes at a high...

Additional Resources

Infographics

An infographic showing how to get out the Muslim vote. 85% of Muslim plan to vote, but only 60% are registered. How do we get out the vote for the 25% of people who plan to vote but are not yet registered? What works: direct mailers thanking people for voting in past elections, knocking on doors in your community, following up with people, sending emails and texts to people you know personally, focusing on messaging that helps people to see themselves as voters. What doesn't work: sending nonpartisan reminders to vote and sending partisan mailers, using prerecorded calls, sending automated emails, using arguments such as civic duty or group solidarity.
Infographic showing the guiding principles for Muslim Political Engagement. Diversity - While differences can be challenging, the multitude of different Muslim voices can be a great benefit to national dialogue. Local and global - social change can only be achieved by constantly being present, both locally and globally. Priorities not partisanship - Focusing on principles not political parties will ensure the longterm influence of American Muslim communities. Stewardship - By concerning oneself with the well-being of the economically disadvantaged and the oppressed, Muslims display the Islamic ethics of social justice and equity.

Interactive Map

A US map showing state control by republicans, democrats, or split

Click the graphic above to view an interactive map

Meet the Research Team

Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui

Primary Investigator, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

PhD from the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC)

Laila Alawa

Secondary Investigator

CEO and Founder, The Tempest

Lead Marketing Strategist, PushBrand Marketing

Youssef Chouhoud

Senior Research Assistant

Doctoral candidate in the Political Science and International Relations program at the University of Southern California

Sarrah Buageila

Project Manager, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Dalia Mogahed

Director of Research, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding


Amaney Jamal

Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics at Princeton University

Director, Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice

Director, Workshop on Arab Political Development

Rashida Tlaib

Community Partnerships and Development Director, Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice

The first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature in 2008 and only the second Muslim state legislator in the country

Muqtedar Khan

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Delaware


Rahfin Faruk

Harry S. Truman Scholar

Summa cum laude graduate, Southern Methodist University, Degrees in economics, political science, public policy, and religious studies