From AP, with thanks to EPG:
NEWARK — From a living room festooned with dozens of elephants in all shapes and sizes, Sherine El-Abd is busily raising money for gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler, whose call for lower property taxes she loves.
It’s only March, but the Edison woman, an Egyptian immigrant and Republican organizer, is already planning candidate forums for October.
In Denville, Aref Assaf is supporting U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, warming to his willingness to include more Arabs and Muslims in his administration and to fight what the Democrat considers the excesses of the USA Patriot Act.
Great. Any word from Assaf on what he plans to do to eradicate elements of the jihad ideology from the American Muslim community?
Three and a half years after the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Arab-American and Muslim communities are important to candidates for the New Jersey governor’s office. The growing political organization — and prodigious fund-raising potential — of Arabs and Muslims in New Jersey make them an appealing source of votes and campaign cash.
Candidates are already speaking at Arab-American dinners, taking out congratulatory ads in souvenir journals and asking for money from a group almost giddy with its newfound political influence.
“We are becoming players,” said Assaf, a Palestinian activist and president of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee’s New Jersey chapter. “It’s a recognition of the fact that the Arab-American community is coming center stage on the American political stage. We are no longer a liability; we are an asset.”
With an estimated 250,000 Arab-Americans and an additional non-Arab Muslim population of about 450,000 in New Jersey, these communities could prove decisive in a close election, said Magdy Mahmoud, president of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations….