Political Ads Make Muslims Uneasy

January 13, 2008


Source: The Detroit Free Press


Victor Ghalib Begg has long been an active Republican. The 60-year-old furniture store owner from Bloomfield Hills campaigned hard for President George W. Bush and former Gov. John Engler, cutting them and other Republicans numerous fat checks over the years.

But as the race for president heats up, he has become disturbed by what he sees as growing anti-Muslim rhetoric from candidates.

"They're all falling over each other to demonize Muslims and Islam," Begg said. "They're trying to appeal to the power of prejudice and hate. ... And it's brainless. Everybody knows we have a problem with terrorism. Let's focus on how to deal with it, instead of focusing on a faith or a people."

It's a view shared by many in Michigan's sizable Muslim and Arab-American communities. As the Republican candidates campaign in the state in advance of Tuesday's primary, local Muslims are closely watching the race. But they feel under siege as candidates scramble to bolster their national security credentials with words Muslims say slander their religion.