Ron Paul: The Mountain Comes to MuhammadSubmitted by McClarinJ on Mon, 02/27/2012 - 16:31
Ron Paul: The Mountain Comes to Muhammad
By David Weigel | Posted Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, at 11:25 AM ET
DETROIT -- Chris Moody traveled to the largest mosque in Michigan to find out whether any Republicans were courting Muslim votes. His answer: An Arabic flier for Ron Paul, and some fear and loathing of Paul's rivals.
Arab Republicans in the Detroit area say they are planning to announce a joint endorsement of Paul with about 150 mostly Muslim business leaders. In interviews with Yahoo News, those signing onto the pending endorsement expressed dismay with candidates like Newt Gingrich, who refers to Palestinians as an "invented people"--Arab Americans here jokingly call Gingrich "the invented candidate"--and Rick Santorum, for his hawkish stance on Iran and his stalwart defense of Israel.
"They've come out against practically every position that the Arabs in the community support," said Nasser Beydoun, the former head of American Arab Chamber of Commerce in Dearborn. "I don't think Republicans are focused on immigrants in general or Arab Americans. They're too busy catering to the fringes of the party."
Paul's focus on Detroit is a clear window into his campaign. Maximizing votes would be nice. Spreading the "message of liberty" to unmarked territory is even better. Because you don't ramp up your popular vote by winning over Muslims in a Michigan Republican primary. In 2008, when Democrats only held a token primary (Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich appeared on the ballot, along with "uncommitted"), a whopping 0 percent of Republican voters identified as Muslims. Less than 2 percent were non-white.