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Edgar Hopida, public relations director of the San Diego Council on American-Islamic Relations, said McCain's response wasn't good enough. "The mistake McCain made is that he said he is not an Arab, he is a decent family man, like those two things are mutually exclusive."
He wishes both candidates would do more to spread a simple message, "We are not a slur. We are not terrorists. We are trying to live the American dream like everybody else."
Hopida, who is non-partisan, said that before 2000 most Muslims were Republicans who backed Bush because they are "conservative in nature. But after 9/11 and the increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric, those numbers started to change.
"Some Muslims, not all, but some Muslims felt disillusioned and betrayed by some of the promises President Bush had made so a lot of them have shifted to the Democratic Party," said Hopida.