Recently GOP released an internal assessment of losses in 2012 elections, possible causes and recommendations. Though the report did state that party has been losing base with the minorities and many other groups, the response from the party was to “deliver the message better”. It seems to me that party has not understood the root causes of their losses in elections, less favorability in the nation and declining voter base. I became a US citizen in 1986, and voted as Republican till 2004. Since then I have been increasingly dissatisfied with GOP’s relationships with the Muslims in USA. The Islamophobic rhetoric, though not exclusively restricted to Republican Party, has been consistently increasing over years.
Muslims mostly identify with GOP due to conservative values, and up till 2000 used to vote in greater numbers with Republican Party. In 2000 national elections, George Bush was endorsed by Muslim organizations and over 70% voted for the party. Many of President Bush’s supporters give credit to Muslims in Florida for the win in the state, leading to White House. Last year about 4% Muslims voted for GOP. Over 40% of American Muslims view themselves as independent voters, 7% identify themselves as Republicans and rest are affiliated with Democratic Party. Over last decade there have been more Muslim voters added, as the second generation has become adults and more immigrants have joined the pool. The Muslim voters’ ratio has dropped dramatically, but the Party has not taken any constructive steps to improve the relationships or even look into the causes.
The anti Muslim zeal increased over the last 2 years. American Muslims are becoming accustomed to bracing themselves for increasing Islamophobia during election years for political gains. The hearings by Representative Peter King (NY) on radicalization of Muslims in America were mainly airing anti Muslim sentiments. Many Muslim organization and individuals who could have given positive reports about American Muslims were not asked to testify in front of the committee. Law enforcement officials denied that there were major extremist Muslim groups in USA. Over 20 states introduced legislations, mostly Republicans to ban “Sharia law”. According to our constitution we cannot have foreign laws; the legislators very well knew that Sharia law cannot be and is not being implemented. But to appease their base and get political gains among the public they chose to waste their time and efforts on this nonexistent issue. Only thing they succeeded were in inflaming the anti Muslim feelings. According to CAIR in last 2 years 78 bills or amendments were moved in the country interfering with practices of Muslims; 73 of these bills were moved by Republicans. The voters at large did reject this message, as in last year’s election 4 out of 11 congressmen who were the most proponents of anti Muslim bias lost their seats.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), along with four Republicans colleagues alleged that Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton had ties to Muslim Brotherhood. This was based on pure speculations and Islamophobia. Some Republican leaders including Senator McCain did rebuke the comments but Rep Bachmann has not toned down her Muslim bashing. Herman Cain’s comments that he would require Muslims to take” a loyalty oath” in his cabinet were an insult to all Muslims who are hard working, productive members of the society. The remark was even more disheartening coming from Mr. Cain, who himself is a minority and has known the struggles of African Americans over years. Mitt Romney gave his tacit approval to the anti Islamic message during the campaign, while jogging our memories about difficulties faced by Mormons in the past.
President Obama has been “accused” of being Muslim and even his citizenship has been questioned. General Colin Powell aptly answered to this question of him being possibly a Muslim, “So what if he was”. Every born American irrespective of his/her faith, race or ethnic background can dream of becoming US President.