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US Report: Running Islamophobic Campaigns a ‘Losing Strategy’

WASHINGTON — Several American candidates, almost exclusively Republicans, have run campaigns this election cycle casting their opponents as “national security threats with ties to terrorism.”

But, according to a new Muslim American study, these claims won’t help them win, Politico reported on October 22.

“While many factors contribute to election outcomes, the vast majority of Islamophobic campaigns have ended in failure — even with clearly credible candidates and in places where President Donald Trump is popular,” the report states.

The 51-page investigation named ‘Running on Hate 2018 pre-election report’, was issued by Muslim Advocates, a civil rights group based in Oakland, California.

The report named 80 candidates for federal, state, and local offices who have expressed Islamophobic sentiments, based on advertisements and past rhetoric.

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According to the study, all but two of those Islamophobic candidates are Republicans. A dozen of them are safely projected to win in November.

The report discovered that at least 40 candidates for Congress have run Islamophobic campaigns. Moreover, 23 of them made it to the general election, though 13 are incumbents.

“For years, a small yet resilient Islamophobic conspiracy has lived on the margins of American politics with a beachhead on the fringes of the Republican Party: that there is an imminent Muslim threat aiming to take over the country through both violent and non-violent means,” Muslim Advocates report mentioned.

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Hate Rises

The report says the Trump campaign and presidency has emboldened “a new wave of Islamophobic conspiracy theorists to run for office nationwide and at all levels of government, trying to capitalize on a deeply false premise: that smearing Muslims is a successful campaign strategy.”

“We have to stop the bleeding. Every month — every month — there is something horrific: a mosque gets attacked or there’s a planned attack or there’s a vicious hate crime,” Scott Simpson, public advocacy director of Muslim Advocates, said.

“We really want it to stop. The only real precipitating factor in this is that the rhetoric has gotten so unhinged, and we believe that gives license to sort of this small and hostile sliver of folks to commit really unspeakable acts.”

According to the poll in the report, a survey of 1,000 voters, 18% of respondents said Muslims are good people. But 7% have a negative view of Muslims in general, while 5% believe they are good as long as they aren’t extremists.

Furthermore, 2% said their religion is false, 1% said Muslims are different, 1% said they are terrorists, and fewer than 0.5% said they should leave the country.

Another finding of that study was that “Only 8% said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who speaks negatively about Muslims. And 58% said they would be more likely to vote against that candidate, though it made no difference to 17%.”

Also, 71% said it’s inappropriate for candidates to speak negatively about Muslims during their campaigns. That’s while 14% said it’s appropriate, and 14% are unsure or refused to say.