Browsing through returns, I remembered that Dearborn, MI, a city of 90,000 in the Detroit metro area, is home to the most concentrated Arab-American population in the country. Arabic-speaking immigrants first came from Lebanon; these pioneers were largely Christians. More recent arrivals have been Muslims from Yemen, Palestine and Iraq.
In the era of Donald Trump, the Muslims live in fear according to interviews in the Daily Beast.
And so, the Arab and Muslim population of the area are doing what newcomer communities have always tried to do: getting involved in the political process for self-defense. I wrote yesterday about Roman Catholic efforts to spur naturalization and registration among Latino immigrants. In the Detroit area, sermons in Islamic institutions are pushing the same imperative. This was preached at the Az-Zahraa Islamic Center in Detroit last Friday.
Video of this English language appeal is here.
Bernie Sanders campaigned in Dearborn on Monday alongside Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, himself a Muslim. Enthusiastic Bernie supporters appealed to voters outside polling places according to a Detroit Free Press account. They stressed Bernie's call for free college tuition as well as his repudiation of bigotry. Though Clinton has spoken out against Islamophobia, some Arab-Americans are not ready to forget that she voted to invade Iraq in 2002.
So how did Dearborn vote? The Arab capital of the United States opted for the elderly Jew! Turnout was nearly 35 percent (not bad for a primary). Among Democrats, Bernie won nearly 60 percent, 20 points ahead of Clinton. Something happening here ...