“Yes”, argues Dean Obeidallah at CNN blog. Noting that the GOP invited a Catholic priest, a Rabbi, an evangelical leader, a Greek Orthodox archbishop and two mormon leaders to pray at the convention, Obeidallah says “The Republican Party has a problem with Muslims.”
To be clear, I don’t believe that most rank-and-file members of the Republican Party hate Muslims. The problem is that certain Republican leaders have stoked the flames of hate toward American Muslims, and other minorities, as a political tool to motivate people to support their cause.
For example, recently Rep. Michele Bachmann — along with four other Republican House members — asserted that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the U.S. government. Bachmann, who is in a tough re-election battle in her redrawn congressional district, even “named names” by claiming that Secretary Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, and Rep. Keith Ellison were connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Although Republican Sen. John McCain publicly denounced Bachmann’s baseless allegations, just a few weeks later, Republican Rep. Joe Walsh escalated the fear-mongering. Walsh, who is in a tight race with Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth, told constituents at a town hall meeting in the Chicago suburbs that there are radical Muslims living among them who are plotting to kill them: “One thing I’m sure of is that there are people in this country — there is a radical strain of Islam in this country — it’s not just over there — trying to kill Americans every week.” Walsh even claimed that this Muslim radical was in his district: “It’s in Elk Grove. It’s in Addison. It’s in Elgin. It’s here.”
And let’s not forget that during this year’s Republican presidential primaries, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain told voters that American Muslims want to impose Islamic law in America. It’s a truly astounding task when you consider that this would require the 2.6 million Muslims in the U.S. to overpower the other 300 million Americans and implement an Islamic legal system. Obviously, this assertion is not based on facts, but to politicians desperate for votes, facts don’t matter.
This type of rhetoric has yielded two distinct consequences. First, it can be seen in the attitudes of Republicans who have been poisoned by the anti-Muslim voices in their party. A recent poll found that 62% of Obama voters view American Muslims favorably, but only 34% of Romney voters shared that positive outlook.
“No”, says Hossein Korram, an Iranian American and Washington State delegate to the Republican Convention. In an interview with the Seattle Times, Korram says,
“The Republican Party doesn’t differentiate on color or religion or race. It differentiates on achievement,” he said. “In our state I have not felt one iota worth of difference between me, a Muslim, being on a Christian slate.”
“Democrats have basically presented the minorities with a package of handouts, which has actually held people down,” he said. “That is not how this country was built. It was built on entrepreneurship.”
According to the Seattle Times story:
He complains that his own development business is unable to go through with two planned apartment projects in Bellevue — which he estimates could put hundreds of people to work — because federal lending regulations have made it harder to get construction loans from banks.
Over the past several years, Khorram has become an increasingly important volunteer and fundraiser in King County Republican circles. He’s a political-contribution bundler for Romney and estimates he’s raised $100,000 for his campaign.
Does the GOP have a Muslim problem?
Tell us what you think!