Muslim Americans are represented at the national level by a sprawling set of groups with sometimes divergent interests—representing the diversity within the Muslim American community itself. Those groups have nowhere near the political clout, lobbying muscle or fundraising ability as their counterparts in other faith, ethnic or sectarian groups.
“There isn’t a similar level of structure or coordination at present as I know there is for major Jewish organizations, but I would say our community has come a long way in the last 15 years since 9/11,” said Farhana Khera, president of Muslim Advocates, a 10-year-old group that focuses on legal advocacy and education.
Ms. Khera said that the diversity of American Muslims has been a barrier in mobilizing as a uniform political force.
“You have a mix of people who are immigrants and people who have been here for centuries and very much see themselves as Americans, and then you have other parts of our community who may question whether they’re being seen as an American,” she said. “It’s like trying to herd a hundred cats, so to speak.”