Can the Republicans resolve their Muslim problem?

Saba Ahmed is one of a bold band of American Muslims trying to convince Republicans that Islam is not their enemy. She came to national attention after wearing a Stars and Stripes hijab on Fox News.

Her attachment to the Republican Party should not come as a complete surprise given that up to 2000, an estimated 70% of Muslim Americans voted Republican. That all changed after 9/11 and the ratcheting up of the war on terror. Saba herself ran as a Democrat in 2011 before coming to the conclusion that she was in the wrong party.

Islamic values are very much traditional family values: pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-traditional family values, pro-business, pro-trade.

She subsequently set up the Republican Muslim Coalition “to bring the voice of conservative Muslims to American politics”.  Her view of the Trump victory is resoundingly positive but she worries that fellow Muslim Americans will shun the new President.

As a Muslim of Pakistani heritage, she believes Pakistani-Americans have been way under-represented in Washington DC but that Trump, with values that are not so dissimilar to those of Muslim Americans, could be an open door. The evidence for that is a bit thin as Trump begins his presidency after a campaign that was long on anti-Muslim rhetoric. Clearly the hope is that his harsh words were electioneering rhetoric and the reality will be entirely different.

 

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