Muslims In Florida Seize On Trump-Khan Flap With Voter Drive

Anti-Trump Muslims in Florida have launched a voter drive to register roughly 500,000 Muslims not currently registered to vote

Aug 03, 2016 at 5:05 PM ET

Following the moving speech by Khizr Khan at the Democratic National Convention last week, and Donald Trump’s offensive outbursts that ensued, Muslims opposed to Trump have launched a get-out-the-vote effort in Florida, which will likely be a key battleground state during the presidential campaign.

The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Tuesday launched its #CAIR2Vote campaign to encourage more Muslims to participate in the election and learn more about the process in what they claim to be a state rife with anti-Islamic sentiment and legislation.

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Muslims makeup about one-percent of all Floridians, according to census data. But the number of Muslims in the Sunshine State is growing rapidly, and faster than the general population of Muslims across the country. In a swing-state like Florida, that many observers believe could decide the election, Muslims could play a serious role in picking the next president.

Khan’s DNC speech, and Trump’s subsequent comments about Khan and his family, sparked outrage across the country. The GOP presidential candidate’s behavior and rhetoric towards Muslims has prompted many to leave the Republican Party.

“I’m going to vote for anyone but Republicans because of this one person, this man who has gone out of his mind,” said Nazar Naqvi, the father of Muslim U.S. soldier killed in a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2008. “Not any office should get our vote. He has been nominated not by one person – the Republican Party nominated him.”

Naqvi, who told Reuters in an interview he “faithfully” voted Republican for more than 30 years, is now advising his friends to ditch the GOP over Trump.

Ghazala Salam is the president of the American Muslim Democratic Caucus of Florida. He recently told The Sun Sentinel that Muslim Democrats can help “swing the election.” The factor, he told the paper, is getting people out to vote—of the roughly 700,000 Muslims in Florida, only between 200,000 and 250,000 are currently registered to vote. As the Sentinel notes, the 2012 election was decided by 74,309 votes.