The heads of four leading US Muslim groups said last weekend that as many as one million of their followers may use next year's presidential elections as a chance to register their dissatisfaction with the Bush administration.

 

“Muslims are eager to vote in defence of their liberties and in defence of their future,” Nihad Awad, executive director of the council on American-Islamic relations said at the groups annual convention in Chicago.

 

“We feel that civil liberties have deteriorated in this country,” he added.

 

Victimised

 

Many American Muslims feel victimised by policies that allow for the racial profiling of Arab and Muslim men.

 

Under the wide ranging powers of the Patriot Act of 2001, many Arab and Muslim have been detained and deported without the right to legal representation.

 

“We want equal respect and equal treatment under the law,” said Awad, according to AFP.

 

Awad declined to say which, if any, Democratic candidate the coalition would endorse.

 

"We will try to do a better job than we did in 2000," he said.

 

The groups, (CAIR, the American Muslim Council, the American Muslim Alliance, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council) are currently conducting voter registration pushes at mosques and Islamic centers across the US.