Do Michigan Arab Americans and Muslims really understand the threat posed to them and their families by ranting xenophobic, Islamophobic civic, religious and media leaders in America? Do they comprehend the rapidly expanding scope of the attacks against their faith, culture and intersets? Do they possess the knowledge and the courage to stand up for themselves and their families, protecting their civil rights and their dreams of a good life in the 'Land of the Free?'
These are the questions that will be answered by analyzing voter turnout in Michigan's primary races on Tuesday, August 7. Voter turnout in primary elections, especially among Arab Americans here, has historically been very low. Voter turnout in the Arab American community in general elections unfortunately, has been nothing to brag about.
But friends, we can no longer be this complacent. Consider this: it was announced this week that Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) has joined the Thomas More Law Center board, a right wing Islamophobic legal advocacy group. Earlier this month Bachmann sent out letters to federal agencies saying "Islamists" have infiltrated high levels of government. One letter mentioned Huma Abedin, aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The law center is, among other things, working to investigate the sale of a vacant school building in Farmington Hills to a Muslim group for a new Islamic center.
CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid said, "Rep. Bachmann and her colleague Rep. Allen West, who is also a board member at Thomas More, are two of the most xenophobic and Islamophobic members of the Tea Party wing within the GOP. Since Michigan has been a target nationwide of anti-Islam campaigns, it makes sense that Bachmann would join a Michigan-based group, which is openly hostile to the Islamic faith."
This is only the tip of the iceberg. We need to be ready to challenge those who threaten us. And they are watching us. If we don't vote, if we don't participate in the electoral process, if they don't hear from us, they have nothing to fear, and we definitely will continue to hear from them. They will continue to pander to those who do vote, who do speak out, who do participate. Those folks are not on our side.
It's incredibly important that we show our presence, our strength in numbers, our cohesion on issues of importance to us. We strongly urge you to go to the polls on August 7 and cast your ballot for people of good conscience who believe in the true meaning of America.
Vote on August 7.