American Muslims will be an important voting bloc in the 2012 presidential election, but some politicians have been hesitant to reach out to the community for fear of a backlash, said Corey Saylor, spokesman for the Council of Islamic-American Relations.
"People want us to be a part of their movements but sort of toward the edge of stage," Saylor said. "Often times what we see is that if someone is getting close to the Muslim community, they get attacked for being weak on national security."
Muslims want to participate in the political process, and they're paying attention to domestic and foreign events, according to a report released last month by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a nonpartisan think tank based in Washington.
The report recommends that politicians engage Muslim Americans because they could play key roles in the upcoming election, especially in key swing states like Florida and Michigan.
The U.S. census didn't ask about religious affiliation, so estimates regarding the size of Muslim communities living in Michigan and Florida are imprecise. But as minority voters become increasingly important in elections, Muslim political importance increases too, the report says.