Arab-Americans are supporting Kerry, baby:
“The butcher (Saddam Hussein) is gone, but the bloodshed is still there,” said Imam Husham Al-Husainy, a Shi’ite cleric who in 1979 fled Iraq and moved to Dearborn, home to many of the estimated 235,000 Arab Americans in Michigan.
“President Bush did a good job to remove the cancer,” said Husainy, who led a rally of more than 100 people in support of the invasion when Bush visited Dearborn two years ago. “But he did not do a good job of strengthening Iraq. Iraq is still like an infected patient in an emergency room,” he said.
Angry with the Iraq war, more of the estimated 1.1 million Arab Americans in the four battleground states of Michigan, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania back Kerry over Bush, according to the polling firm Zogby International.
In a poll of Arab Americans in those states conducted in September after the Republican convention, 47 percent of voters favored Kerry to 31.5 percent for Bush. Nine percent favored Ralph Nader, the independent candidate who is of Lebanese descent, while 12 percent were undecided.
Four years ago, Bush won the support of 45.5 percent of Arab Americans, compared to 38 percent for Vice President Al Gore and 13.5 percent for Nader, according to Zogby data.
Bush has even lost the support of the largest segments of the Arab American populations — Roman Catholics and those born in the United States, according to the Zogby poll.
Dearborn restaurant owner Sam Ajami, a Muslim who immigrated from Lebanon 35 years ago, has voted for the Republican candidate in the last three presidential elections. But now, sitting at a table at his Al-Ajami restaurant, Ajami said he is switching to John Kerry and the Democrats.
“Bush’s (foreign) policy is not working. You cannot be a bully and stubborn,” said Ajami.
“Now we’re stuck,” he added. “It might take 30 years. It’s not something that can be done overnight, or over a year, or over two or three.”