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Muslim leaders speak out


By Lisa Brody
News Editor
...continued from page 13

Traditionally, Muslims as a demographic group have aligned themselves with the more traditional values of the Republican Party, with a majority backing former Pres. George W. Bush. Recent bigotry shown by some Republican candidates is suspected of moving many Muslims to lean more Democratic with the past two presidential elections, and in the 2016 primary season, pundits note that the Muslim community is shifting toward the Democrats, with 59 percent of Dearborn's Arab population voting for Bernie Sanders in Michigan's primary. Are you seeing that shift reflected within the local Oakland County Muslim community?

ALMASMARI:
Yep. You have a lot of Muslims that are part of the Republican Party, but recently a lot of them have changed their direction for political reasons. We don't promote that as a non-profit, but you do see that shift.

Who wouldn't? Sometimes you sense the hatred. You can see it. At the end of the day, people are people. They make their own decisions, they see what's best for their own families. People want to co-exist. People want to see bright futures for their children, and that's a very simple movement, moving from one party to another. It's not a life-changing step.

OSMAN: Yes, 60 percent of Muslims voted for President George W. Bush.

I would say that shift is reflective all over the United States. It's obvious that many, and a majority, of Muslims, were leaning more towards being Republican, were right wing, because they believe in fiscal responsibility, they believe in hard work, in family values, more of those social values. But there are also those Muslims who believe in the welfare system, that the state should care for­ individuals in other aspects as well.

But when certain political candidates, such as Mr. Cruz and Mr. Trump, come out with this kind of rhetoric, with this kind of pushback to the Muslim community, as a Muslim it's very hard to support. Some of the things Sarah Palin said (in 2008) were very hard to take. I wanted John McCain. But no, I'm sorry, when you see the acceptance and loving nature of one side over the other – obviously people are going to gravitate to one side. The worst thing the GOP can do is marginalize the Muslim people, to make them feel they are being belittled, to call them enemies.

They're losing votes by doing it.­­ ­

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Tags: LONGFORM

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