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Muslim Community Energized Politically in Nevada

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Minaret is often seen as a symbol of the Muslim faith. This political season more and more American Muslims are finding themselves engaged in politics.

The Muslim community is split on which candidate to support.

But they're clear that they support either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. And they're clear that they don't support Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.

Their support for the Democratic candidates often split families, as well as generations.

At stake is the lives of American immigrants - and of Muslim immigrants in particular.

Many are reacting to Donald Trump's "throw them all out" rhetoric, but many Muslims in Las Vegas talk about the economy, about losing everything they had during the recession, and about deciding now that they need to have a voice in choosing who will fight for them.

Hanadi Nadeem, recently hosted an event for Hillary Clinton. She told KNPR's State of Nevada why she believes Clinton is the right candidate for the job. 

"I support Hillary Clinton because I think she has all the experience and throughout her life she has been working for the benefit of people," Nadeem said.  

Zaffar Iqbal, a physician who hosted a pro-Bernie event, explained why he supports the Vermont senator. 

“Bernie to me is a once in a life opportunity," Iqbal said, "We have a candidate that is standing up to strict political and economic system that has not delivered for the people. People feel that they’re being left behind.”

While Nadeem and Iqbal disagree on who to vote for, they do agree that some of the rhetoric used in this campaign has galvanized the Muslim community. 

"When we have seen the hateful remarks from Republicans that has threatened the Muslim community and they really believe that his our country and we have to stand up for the right for the betterment of America for the progress of this country," Nadeem said.

 "I think Muslims feel afraid,"  Iqbal said, "They feel discriminated against and I think Republicans rhetoric of dividing people have not made it any better. An important thing I want to put out here is that most Americans feel left behind. They feel that the system is not working for them so they are angry. What Republicans are doing is they're putting fuel to that fire. Then they're directing their anger to the immigrants or the Muslims."

Both said they know many immigrants who are working to become citizens so they can vote in this election. 

 

Hanadi Nadeem, Hiliary Clinton supporter;   Zaffar Iqbal, Bernie Sanders supporter

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(EDITOR'S NOTE: Carrie Kaufman no longer works for KNPR News. She left in April 2018)