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(RNS) A Muslim advocacy group will launch the largest-ever voterregistration drive aimed at American Muslims, a small but crucial swingvote in battleground states like Michigan, California and New Jersey.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-basedadvocacy group, will send out thousands of voter guides before Sept. 15,which has been designated American Muslim Voter Registration Day byCAIR.

CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said the effort representsgreater political activism among American Muslims, as well as anincreased awareness of issues that directly affect the Muslim community.

"Muslims have a duty to make a positive impact on this society, andvoting is one of the most effective means to accomplish this goal," Awadsaid in a statement.

The materials provided by CAIR's Research Center includeinstructions on registering voters, brochures, candidate surveys andorganizational materials. CAIR will also provide materials on whyMuslims should become engaged in the political process, something manyMuslims have been hesitant to do in the past.

There are an estimated 2 million to 6 million Muslims in the UnitedStates, and surveys indicate Muslim voters are roughly split in theirsupport of Al Gore and George W. Bush. A recent CAIR poll showed that 90percent of respondents planned on voting in November.

The survey also found that 64 percent of Muslims voted in the lastelection, which is higher than the national voter turnout of about 50percent. Many analysts say Muslim voters could be crucial in hotlycontested states with large Muslim populations, such as Michigan, NewJersey and California.

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