Muslims Say GOP Rhetoric Is Eroding Once Solid Support

January 10, 2007

Author: Omar Sacirbey

Source: Pew Forum

Raise a million dollars and get Rep. Virgil Goode voted out office. That was the challenge Salman Tajuddin, an investment manager from Arlington, Va., issued recently to fellow Muslims and the Democratic Party, posting it on, a Muslim networking Web site.

"Virgil Goode has it out for Muslims. So I've got it out for him," Tajuddin wrote, referring to Goode's recent suggestion that tougher immigration laws were needed to keep more Muslims like Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., out of Congress.

But because Goode's congressional district is in mostly rural south central Virginia, Tajuddin conceded that ousting the five-term congressman would be next to impossible. But Goode's comments have cemented Tajuddin's support for Democrats while further alienating him from the Republican Party.

"The rhetoric only drives Muslims away," said Tajuddin, who grew up admiring Ronald Reagan and voted Republican until 2002. "It becomes part of the way Republicans are perceived, as distrustful of me. And if they're distrustful of me, why should I trust them?"

Such sentiments are becoming common among Muslim-Americans who once voted Republican. They view Goode's as only the latest attack by an increasingly hostile party. And they wonder whether such sentiments are limited to a few members of the GOP, or are more widespread.