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For Muslim Voters, Islamophobia Is A Big Issue

Islamophobia is the biggest issue for Muslim voters during the 2016 election, a new poll released on Feb. 1 has found.

The poll, published by the Council on American Islamic Relations, also found that the economy and healthcare came in second and third, respectively. CAIR asked 2,000 Muslim primary voters in New York, Illinois, California, Texas, Florida and Virginia, the states with the highest Muslim populations, about the issues that they were looking for a presidential candidate to address in 2016.

CAIR found that 30 percent of those surveyed responded that their top concern this election was Islamophobia, compared with 23 percent responding that the economy was their top issue, and 14 percent saying healthcare, according to Al Jazeera. The poll also indicated that 67 percent of Muslim primary voters plan on voting for Democrats, with only 15 percent voting for Republicans. The three candidates most favored in the poll were Hillary Clinton at 51 percent, Bernie Sanders at 22 percent, and Donald Trump at 7 percent, says CommonDreams.

Trump has drawn criticism this year for his controversial statements about Muslims. In particular, his stated plan to ban all Muslim travel to the U.S. was criticized by Barack Obama's national deputy security advisor Ben Rhodes as "totally contrary to our values as Americans," as reported by CNN.

However, Robert McCaw, political director for CAIR said that Muslim voters' support for Trump was not surprising. "He is the default candidate right now, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz," said McCaw. McCaw also noted that while the majority of Muslim voters were liberal, there were also some die-hard conservative voters.

CAIR has reported 75 acts of violence and legal discrimination against Muslims since November of 2015, in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings and the Paris terrorist attacks of last year. The hate crimes have included the arson of a Somali restaurant in North Dakota and the beating of a Muslim shopkeeper in New York, reports All Jazeera.

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper called the number of attacks "unprecedented," adding that anti-Muslim bigotry has become more mainstream. “In previous spikes, like after 9/11, Islamophobia was on the fringes of society," Ibrahim said.

Source: Al Jazeera (2), CNN, Common Dreams. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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