Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • UN peacekeepers battle jihadists in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

Americas

Arab Americans offer Obama grudging support

Text by Imed BENSAIED

Latest update : 2012-11-03

Recent polls show the majority of Arab Americans intend to vote for incumbent President Barack Obama in next week’s election – but some say they have lost faith in the United States’ first black president.

Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, has one of the highest concentrations of Arab American residents – not all of whom are Muslims – in the United States. It is home to the largest mosque in North America as well as the Arab American National Museum.

Arabs have been coming to Dearborn since the 1920s, and back then most of them were Christians. Newer arrivals are predominantly Muslim and come from across the Arab world, although the majority now living in this small city are of Lebanese origin.

In 2008, the USA’s two million Arab Americans voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. Voters in Dearborn are more lukewarm towards the US president this time round.

‘Obama turned his back on us’

Ali, a 26-year-old student, said he could not bring himself to vote, even though he had been an enthusiastic supporter of Obama in 2008.

The young man, who comes from a Lebanese family, said the United States’ first black president had failed to live up to his campaign promises and in particular “had not paid any attention to the country’s Arabs”. Consequently, he said, many of these voters were seriously reconsidering how they will vote.

“The president exploited our community by making us feel he was one of us,” he said. “But once he was in office he turned his back on us and simply carried on with the same old American policies.”

US ELECTIONS - WHY OHIO MATTERS

Ali is openly upset about Obama’s first term and insists that many of his fellow Muslims “will not fall into the same trap this time round”.

“I think they are more likely to vote for his [Republican] rival Mitt Romney or simply abstain from voting as a way of showing their displeasure,” he said.

Nevertheless, recent polls indicate that 75% of the country’s Arab American and Muslim voters intend to vote for the president.

Blocking the Republicans

Hussein, a 35-year-old Iraqi-American who works in an Arab restaurant, believes that very few Arab Americans and Muslims are paying much attention to the forthcoming elections, particularly in Dearborn.

Obama, he said, had lost credibility despite fulfilling promises to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“He went to war in Libya, his administration is still far too supportive of Israel and the Middle East peace process is dead in the water,” he said.

“Meanwhile, there is a threat of military intervention in Syria to topple Bashar al-Assad’s regime and to arm opposition rebels. These are issues that are turning many Arabs away from wanting to support Obama this time around.”

Still, he said, he would vote for Obama, “if only to stop Mitt Romney and his Republican Party, who I absolutely do not want to see in the White House”.

‘He did what he could’

Hoda, a biology professor from a Lebanese family, says that despite any shortcomings perceived by many Arab Americans, she will definitely be voting for Obama.

“He did what he could in his first term in office in an extremely challenging political and economic environment,” she said. “It would have been absolutely impossible to change everything for the better in the short time given to him.”

She hopes that Obama will have the second term he needs to push through all his promised reforms.

“I will vote for him because he has a credible electoral programme,” she said. “He is much more of a realist and much more transparent as a candidate than Romney.”

Hoda said she believed Romney’s weakness was his mistaken belief that Americans were a superior people and that the USA was the centre of the world.

Not all the people she knows feel the same way, however: “But despite this I have a number of friends who believe in his promises to rebuild the country, or who simply want to have a different president, who will vote for the Republican candidate.”

 

Date created : 2012-11-02

  • US ELECTION 2012

    Obama and Florida Jews: through thick and thin?

    Read more

  • US ELECTION 2012

    LGBT voters join frontline of Obama campaign

    Read more

  • US ELECTION 2012

    In Miami early voting, long lines and clashing opinions

    Read more

COMMENT(S)