CHICAGO – As the presidential poll approaches, many American Muslims have endorsed Republican candidate, Donald Trump, despite his offensive comments about Muslims, refugees and lately women.
“For us, Arabs and Muslims, the real objective for us is change, and Trump represents a better chance for our community to introduce real change in the policies of the US government especially in the Middle East,” Ray Hanania, a Palestinian-American journalist from Chicago, told Al Jazeera on Monday, October 10.
For Hanania, the issue is not about Trump’s offensive comments about women, which he denounces, but about change.
He added that the question of morality is a moot point in American politics.
Saba Ahmed, the founder of the Muslim Republican Coalition who endorsed American presidential candidate Donald Trump last January, held a similar opinion.
Though Ahmed described Trump’s comments as “very offensive to women”, she nevertheless defended Trump, saying that those comments “do not represent who he is”.
Ahmed said she still hoped to see a Republican in the White House, and urged Republican Muslims to stick with the party’s official nominee.
She said Trump’s performance at Sunday night’s debate with Hillary Clinton was “strong” and that he made excellent arguments regarding the challenges confronting the nation, especially concerning the economy.
Unlike Ahmed and Hanania, many American Muslims were facing a dilemma between choosing a candidate who has repeatedly insulted them and another who, while not saying the same things, has not been supportive of their rights and issues that affect their lives.
“In this election, we are forced to choose between which head of the dragon is less evil or more appealing,” says Amal Kassir, an Arab American social activist from Denver, Colorado.
“The hypocritical thing in this latest controversy is that the country went into an uproar only when Donald Trump insulted and degraded powerful and rich white women,” she added.
Without naming names, she says those who are abandoning the Trump ship now and “denouncing his comments about white women, endorsed and supported him when he degraded and insulted blacks, Latinos, Muslims and refugees.”
Hanania, who supported Trump, criticized President Barack Obama, labeling him a failure because, according to him, he failed to achieve any progress in the Middle East.
Obama succumbed to Israeli pressure and abandoned his own peace efforts, he said.
The difference between Democrats and Republicans, he says, is that Democrats would typically give you “happy talk, while Trump, the Republican, is blunt and insulting.
“But both are essentially the same”.