Muslims More Likely To Vote on Values Than Foreign Policy

By Ori Nir

Published March 28, 2003, issue of March 28, 2003.
  • Print
  • Share Share

WASHINGTON — Republican outreach efforts to the American-Muslim community during recent years have yielded considerable fruit that is not likely to be undercut by the war in Iraq, according to the GOP activist most closely identified with that outreach, Grover Norquist.

The reason, Norquist said in an interview with the Forward, is that ethnic and religious minority groups are usually less likely to vote on foreign policy issues than they are on values.

Norquist compared Muslims to Orthodox Jews, saying both groups feel more comfortable with the Republican Party “because the Democratic Party is aggressively secular and does not like people of faith.” It is on that basis, Norquist said, that the Republican Party approaches ethnic and religious minorities. “You do not, however, approach them on foreign policy issues,” he said.

Because of this approach, he said, President Bush polled strongly among Arab Americans and Muslim Americans in 2000. “Bush did well with Muslim Americans, maybe less so with Arab Americans,” Norquist said, even though he “campaigned on the issue of moving the American embassy to Jerusalem.” By the same token, he said, “we will do better [than the Democrats] with the Orthodox Jewish vote, and that will have nothing to do with who runs Hebron.”

Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform, a coalition of conservative groups that advocates tax relief, is considered close to the White House. In his view, the president and his advisors did not have electoral considerations in mind when they decided to invade Afghanistan or to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime.

“I assure you no one in the White House is even thinking about this stuff,” he said. “They would be irritated if anyone would suggest that this goes into their thinking, and it doesn’t.”

Norquist conceded, however, that Bush is likely to lose some Arab and Muslim support if the war in Iraq evolves into a protracted siege of Baghdad. “If everything goes to hell, then of course,” Norquist said. “But look, two years from now — who the heck knows.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.