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Contesting Islamophobia and Securing Collective Rights: Muslim American Advocacy in the 2016 Elections

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 September 2018

Emily Cury
Northeastern University
E-mail address:


This paper examines how Muslim American advocacy organizations have responded to recent spikes in anti-Muslim discrimination, particularly in the context of the 2016 elections. It asks how Muslim American interest groups have helped frame and communicate the policy interests of U.S. Muslims and, consequently, the collective claims of the group on whose behalf they claim to speak. Relying on political ethnography as the main method of inquiry, I conduct in-depth participant observation, qualitative interviews with Muslim American leaders, and an analysis of primary documents and social media communication produced by Muslim American organizations. This data was collected between June 2016 and July 2017, and transcribed and coded using Nvivo. Through this analysis, I find that being targeted as “other” has driven Muslim advocacy organizations to rely on constituent empowerment strategies, mobilize in demand of Muslim American group rights, defend their constitutional rights, and claim their place as an American minority.

Symposium: Dialogue on Muslim American Sociopolitical Life
Copyright © Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association 2018 

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