Election: A Moral Dilemma For Arabs, Muslims
By Jon Mroz
Last night an undecided Muslim-American woman, Gorba Hamid, asked Donald Trump what he would do to fight Islamaphobia. With all the venom, prejudice and xenophobia flung at the Muslim and Arab communities from the far Right, you may wonder how Ms. Hamid c
ould possibly be undecided? It’s a simple answer. Muslims and Arabs are the moderates of this election.
We are social conservatives and political liberals unwillingly caught in the crossfire of the greatest socio-political divide this country has seen in over a century, maybe two.
Many Muslims and Arabs believe faith, family, modesty and tradition are sacred. Social welfare through religious charity, belief in the sanctity of life and many other conservative values are deeply engrained in Muslim and Arab ethics and beliefs.
Ironically, conservative politicians invoke a painful desire for inclusion when they talk about these issues. Arabs and Muslims by and large, have more in common with those who see them as enemies than those who don’t. Sadly, Liberals at their core aren’t as good of a choice as they’d appear.
Trump and Clinton’s pandering didn’t conceal their nearly identical answer to Ms. Hamid’s question. “Prove your loyalty by reporting security threats from within your community and the rest of America will love you.” Clinton’s softer “we need your help” approach didn’t change that answer.
The candidates knew that Americans on both the Left and the Right will continue to justify discrimination against all Muslims and Arabs through the prism of life or death. Placing responsibility for changing that view on our shoulders was a safe answer.
In response to Ms. Hamid, Hillary Clinton also proudly announced that America is not at war with Islam. What she did not (and could not) say was that some Americans believe they are at war with Muslims and Arabs. Many on the left see us as a political liability despite common ground we share on foreign policy, immigration and similar issues.
Plenty of Democrats openly discriminate against Arabs and Muslims. We deserve more than a condescending nod of acceptance from liberals and we shouldn’t drink the Kool-Aid.
As for the Republicans, Arabs and Muslims would be more than happy to vote on our values but we are afraid. It’s tough to support a party whose officials shrug off murders, pig heads thrown into mosques, beatings and institutionalized discrimination.
Our communities deserve more from conservative leadership and it’s a shame that building ties between Muslim and Christian conservatives is not a national security priority.
So for the time being, Arabs and Muslims will continue to be unwilling moderates weighing out the impossible choice of voting with Republicans to advance our values vs. voting with Democrats to advance our dignity. And we know that after we fulfill this crucial service to our country, we’ll still be expected to prove our loyalty.
It’s no surprise that Ms. Hamid is undecided.
(Jon Mroz is a commentator and marketing executive at ElementOne, a full service digital marketing agency. Jon formerly served as a policy analyst and consultant contributing expertise to think tanks, government agencies and humanitarian non-profits. Click here for his Facebook Page.)