Tarrant County Republicans reached out to Muslims at a festival celebrating the end of Ramadan last week. Photo: BRAD LOPER/DMN
From Texas: The Dallas Morning News reported that Republicans sought to attract Muslim voters by appealing to their conservatism on gender issues, promoting the ban on gay marriage. They met a mixed reception:
In Virginia: The Washington Post detected that Muslims were among the voters who gave Democrat Timothy Kaine surprising margins of victory in exurban counties that previously had voted Republican.
In New Jersey: Local election officials used a convenient, accessible mosque as a polling place and were taken aback when voters complained.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in New Jersey, a Muslim candidate for office overcame a blatant racist attack.
All these incidents replicate a common trajectory by which immigrant communities become part of the US multicultural mix. Latinos in California experience the same dissonance between the values they bring from their home cultures and US attitudes toward abortion, gender roles and gay marriage. If all else were equal, they might be attracted by Republican stances on these issues. But they identify Republicans with racism and xenophobia. When push comes to shove, most register as Democrats, not because the Democrats are so attractive, but because there really is no home for them in the other party.
Muslims seem to be following the same pattern, faced with Republican promotion of panicked cries of "Islamofascism" and embrace of militant rightwing Christianity. Until and unless Muslims in this country achieve economic and political security, which Republican post-9/11 posturing denies them, the majority will be Democrats. Meanwhile, at the local level, they can hope to move into the system, winning more space and respect.