The Rise of American Muslim Changemakers


CAIR, Jetpac, and MPower Change have partnered to produce a report on American Muslim involvement and grassroots organizing during the 2018 midterm elections. Scroll down to view key findings, and to download the full report.

This report provides qualitative and quantitative analysis of the rise of the American Muslim political class in the Trump era. It does so by profiling American Muslim candidates that ran for public office between 2016 and 2018 and offering insight from Muslim civic engagement organizations on effective methods of grassroots organizing.

It also provides results from CAIR and Jetpac polls and databases documenting American Muslim political engagement and attitudes in the current political moment. This report allows community organizers and political strategists to reflect and discuss the various tactics and approaches used by American Muslim candidates at the local, state, and national levels as they begin to prepare for the 2020 presidential and congressional elections.

View the full report on The Rise of American Muslim Changemakers

About The Authors


Jetpac (Justice Education Technology Political Advocacy Center) is a training and educational organization that seeks to build a strong American Muslim political infrastructure and increase the community’s influence and engagement. It trains professionals on grassroots mobilization, civic advocacy, and community organizing, and educates American Muslim youth on civics and leadership.


CAIR is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, with over 34 offices across the country. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. The Department of Research and Advocacy provides up to date research on anti-Muslim bigotry, the impact of Islamophobia on American politics and culture, and American Muslim civil society in various sectors.

MPower Change

MPower Change is one of the largest Muslim led social and racial justice organizations in the United States. Rooted in the Islamic faith and the Prophetic model, it believes in building a more just world for all people. Using digital organizing and faith-rooted community organizing, it is building a grassroots movement made up of diverse Muslim and ally communities throughout the United States.

Key Findings

More Mobilization

  • Campaigns that focused on providing political access for traditionally marginalized populations resulted in a significant rise in voter turnout.
  • This newly activated political base translated into direct political support in the form of votes, finance, or in-kind contributions.

Uphill Battle

  • Most political candidates were grassroots oriented, non-institutional, and often faced opposition from established political actors.
  • This lack of institutional support required intense and early ground level organizing.
  • Engaging and activating new political bases required more financial and human resources than expected.
  • Candidates consistently reported that mosque-based communities and traditional Muslim institutions did not play an early or significant role in mobilizing campaign resources.

Message Discipline

  • Candidates that made organic use of social media, digital storytelling, and video production were able to mobilize voters at community and national levels in greater degrees than those who did not.
  • Candidates reported that a strong multi-platform social media presence with consistent message discipline helped control media narratives about candidates and mitigate potentially negative coverage.

Muslim, American, Human

  • Although most American Muslim candidates reported that Trump-era Islamophobia motivated them to enter formal politics, they stated that their faith motivated their agenda, but did not define or limit it.
  • Most candidates reported that their faith values guided their social justice orientation by prioritizing human welfare and social equity.

See the full list of American Muslim election results from November 6