Muslims Cite Betrayal by Bush



Syed Ahmed voted for George W. Bush in 2000. But he won't this year.

Ahmed, an engineering consultant and one-time delegate to the state
Republican convention, said he believes the president has taken the country
in the wrong direction.

Like many Muslims around the country who overwhelmingly supported Bush in
the last presidential election, Ahmed now appears to be backing Democratic
candidate John Kerry, according to several polls.

Muslim-Americans, who often identify themselves as fiscal and social
conservatives, would appear to be a natural constituency for Bush. But when
it comes to civil liberties, especially since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist
attacks, their support is changing.

Muslims are disenchanted with the Bush administration for its support of
the Patriot Act, which has left them feeling betrayed, several Muslims
leaders said.

"The Patriot Act has many nonpatriotic provisions in it," Ahmed said.

The Bush-Cheney campaign realizes that it can't take any group's votes for
granted, said Danny Diaz, a spokesman for the campaign.

"Every single vote is significant in this election. We are reaching out to
people on an individual level. We recognize and appreciate the
contributions that are made every day by Muslim-Americans in contributing
to our national security and (ensuring) that progress continues," he said.
"The Patriot Act is an important tool that allows law enforcement to fight
terrorism."

The Patriot Act, which Congress passed shortly after 9/11, expands the
government's authority to identify, track and apprehend suspected
terrorists, including using roving wiretaps on any telephone.

The Bush administration has said the act breaks down legal and bureaucratic
walls that hampered intelligence and law enforcement agencies from
collecting and sharing information.

Yet, many Muslims and other critics view it as an attack on civil liberties
and say it has led to the perception of racial profiling, especially at
airports.

While it is difficult to define the Muslim community as strictly liberal or
conservative, it appears to be more actively engaged in this year's
presidential election..

 


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