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US Midterm elections: Anti-Muslim campaigning tactics a ‘losing strategy’, claims pre-election report

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Ahead of the US midterm elections on November 6, a report by the Muslim Advocates civil rights group slammed anti-Muslim campaigning tactics by Republican candidates and television channels as ‘a losing strategy’, Al-Jazeera reported.

The ‘Running on Hate’ report charts the rise of ‘anti-Muslim rhetoric’ ever since US President Donald Trump assumed office.

It documented 80 instances of “clear anti-Muslim rhetoric” employed by political candidates in 2017 and 2018, adding that 64 percent of the candidates held office before or enjoyed a presidential endorsement.

Scott Simpson, the public advocacy director of Muslim Advocates, said that anti-Muslim candidates have vied for “every level of government” office in “every region” of the country in the past two years.

“Behind the world view pushed by these candidates is something very troubling: Muslims and non-Muslim allies are conspiring to take over the government to replace the constitution with Sharia law,” AJ quoted him as having said.

Republicans comprised all but two of the 73 cases in which the report identified party affiliation, and more than a third of the candidates listed alleged that Muslims are innately violent or pose a physical threat.

“These conspiracy theories have had a constituency within the Republican Party for years,” Simpson said, adding: “Trump is an important part of this, but he didn’t originate it.”

However, only 11 to 14 percent of the candidates listed in the report are forecast to win, thus proving that targeting Muslims is an ineffective electoral strategy, Simpson observed.

“The vast majority of them are losing or are projected to lose in November,” he said. “What we saw in this report, and what we see every day, is counter to the conventional wisdom about this: The assumption that most Americans don’t like Muslims is incorrect.”

During the 2016 presidential elections, Trump promised to the public to ban Muslims from entering the US and gave a suggestion of a database to keep track of Muslim Americans.

The following year hate crimes targeting Muslims spiked by 15 percent, according to a Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) report.

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