I got to wondering what Muslim-Americans think about this year’s
presidential election, especially given that so much has happened over the
last four years. 9-11. Iraq. The Mideast. The Patriot Act. So I sat down
with 11 North Texas members of this key religious swing group, and here’s
what I learned:
George W. Bush may have done well with Muslim voters in 2000, when he won a
majority of Arab-Americans. But if the group I queried last week in
Richardson is any indication, he better not take their support for granted.
It doesn’t matter that the president has gone out of his way to say the war
against terror is not a fight against Islam. The battle against terrorism
feels that way to this group. “He needs a public campaign against prejudice
against Islam,” declared Uzma Feroze, a North Texan now living with her
children and husband in Dubai.
She’s not alone. Participant after participant lambasted the way America’s
seen in the world, particularly in Muslim countries.
Then there’s the Patriot Act. And the roundup of Muslims after 9-11. Both
are far from forgotten.
After an hour of listening, it was no surprise to learn very few of these
registered voters plan to support the president. The administration could
dismiss this as an unscientific group. But their preferences track an April
Zogby poll in the four states with the greatest Muslim populations