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The Republican Party and Muslims in the Presidential Election: Thoughts from a Bosnian Muslim
By: Edin Plevljakovic
I am a Bosnian Muslim, originally from Sarajevo, with an abiding interest in American politics. I have always considered myself Republican because I appreciate that conservative politics are based on true, enduring principles, driven by love of one’s country and people, and faith in God.
I also like the fact that the Republican Party gives so much importance to an individual’s freedoms, including religious freedom, which should not be encroached upon by the government. That is why many Muslims sided with the Republican Party in the past. However, some of the recent rhetoric and action from Republicans has alienated Muslims, who have left the Party in droves. In that context, the Republican Muslim Coalition (RMC) should be commended in its efforts to win Muslims back to the Party they used to be native to, with as many as 70 percent of American Muslims voting for George W. Bush in the 2000 election, according to a CAIR survey.
Saba Ahmed, founder of the RMC, is on a mission to educate the Republican Party about Muslim values and build a bridge between Muslim Americans and the Republican Party. Ahmed’s efforts come in the midst of an unfavourable political climate, but it is precisely this climate that necessitates her action, which can lead to success in the future. Still, the responsibility to bridge this gap should not just rest on Ahmed’s shoulders. Instead, I call upon Donald Trump, and other leading and local GOP activists, to pay a visit to a Muslim community and mosques in their home state, and talk to their potential constituency, citizens they seek to lead.
I firmly believe a Republican president would be a far better choice for Muslims and non-Muslims alike than a Democratic one. I trust that the Republican Party will be able to take America down the road of economic and social revival. I am confident that Trump will move past divisive rhetoric once campaigning is done, and do his utmost to reconcile Americans in the tradition of the founding fathers, free of all prejudice. Trump will need to cultivate Muslim votes in order to win this fight. Muslims are, and always will be, an inextricable part of the social fabric of the United States of America. Our help is necessary in order to make America great again.
Edin Plevljakovic is an English professor from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Applied Studies and Diplomacy. He is also a proud conservative.