Speaking at the 14th annual MAS-ICNA conference held in Chicago on January 3, CAIR Executive Director and Founder Nihad Awad said: "We have to register every single Muslim to vote in 2016. The Muslim vote can be the swing vote in major states." Awad warned that "life for American Muslims will be difficult" if "those attacking Muslims today will be in the White House," and said that the number of Muslims was growing in the seven predicted swing states of the 2016 presidential elections – Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
Director Nihad Awad: "America has influence on its people, and people around the world, and therefore what American Muslims do and do not can determine not only the future of you here, but the future of America itself - the future relationship between America and the Muslim world. Brothers and sisters, we are leaders, and when I say leaders I mean it because you are all leaders. Your votes are you negotiating power in the year 2016. If you don't like Islamophobia, if you don't like what Donald Trump says, what Ben Carson said, get busy in 2016. Get busy in 2016, register to vote, and register other people to vote, if you don't know how to do it, Google it. Turn your centers, Islamic centers, mosques into registration centers for voters, into polling stations during the election time. This is the time to tell our narrative and to show our presence. Train and get yourself trained in how to be involved in the political process. 2016 is a decisive year for us as American Muslims, but also for America. What kind of year are we going to have? Depends on you, depends on you.
"Brothers and sisters, no party should take us for granted. Yes we know where the conversation is leading, we know what the politicians are saying, we know, who is attacking the Muslim community, and who is defending the Muslim community. And as I always say, in 2016, in November, we will remember. We will know who we will vote for, but let's not be emotional. What if those who are attacking Muslims today will be in the White House? America will be a different country. Life for American Muslims would be difficult. I don't want to find ourselves in a situation where people who are attacking American Muslims today, and trying to divide America, to lead America in November 2016. We cannot afford to have that, but how can we deal with this scenario? We have to open a conversation with all Americans today.
"Our number is growing as American Muslims. We can muster to register one million voters, through the help of Muslims, they can be Muslims, and I believe we have at least one million Muslim eligible voters in this country.
"We have to register every single Muslim to vote in 2016. The Muslim vote can be the swing vote in major states. The swing votes, brothers and sisters you know them: Florida, Ohio. Do we have people from Florida here? Do we have people from Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania? These are predicted to be the seven swing states in 2016 presidential election. The number of Muslims in these states is growing.
"We would like to have an accurate assessment of our voting power, of our inclination on issues. Based on that we are going to meet with presidential and local candidates on issues of concern to American Muslims. And we're going to negotiate with them, we've done it in many elections. We are going to do it in this election, and based on that a decision will be made. Not by our national organizations because we are 501c3, we are non-profit, we cannot endorse or oppose candidates, or raise funds for or against candidates, like all mosques in the country. But who will make that decision is a committee, like a Political Action Committee that is registered by law to conduct that. And that decision made by that organization can be conveyed through social media, networks and through other networks to the Muslim community."