Precarious US-Iran relations have Muslim voters eyeing candidates’ records on war

Religion News Service | 1/14/2020 | Aysha Khan
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(RNS) — After the U.S. killed Iran’s top military general this month in an airstrike directed by President Donald Trump, thousands of Americans protested at rallies nationwide, from Times Square to outside the Texas State Capitol.

Airstrike - Reminder - Muslim - Middle - Eastern

The airstrike served as an unwelcome reminder to many Muslim and Middle Eastern American voters about what they describe as the need for a commander in chief who will protect both the U.S. and the Middle East from further military conflict.

Any further conflict could lead to major civilian casualties in the Middle East and civil rights violations domestically if a war breaks out, warned a coalition of Shiite and Sunni American organizations.

Administration - History - Groups - Americans - Muslims

“With the current administration’s history of marginalizing ethnic and religious groups like Iranian Americans, Muslims and immigrants, there is a real fear of how civil liberties of minorities will be suspended for a false sense of security,” the groups, including the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Shia Muslim Council, said in a statement.

Tension in the Middle East may play a role in the 2020 presidential election, at least for Muslim voters.

Shabana - Mir - Associate - Professor - Islamic

Shabana Mir, an associate professor at the American Islamic College in Chicago, said that Sen. Bernie Sanders' willingness to help curb America's global role and his "long and highly consistent record in domestic and foreign policy" have made him a top choice for her and many other Muslim voters.

"Homelessness, hunger and poverty go unaddressed in this country, while politicians fire up their bases to engage in military adventurism as Trump did with Soleimani, Bush did in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Obama did with his drone warfare," Mir said. " ... I am far more happy with Bernie Sanders’ record and policies than with any other candidate. Unlike others, he is in favor of cutting the defense budget."

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