This is a phenomenon I explained here. “They’ve met with other communities, so why is the Arab-American, Muslim community out of the loop?” Because Obama, or at least those around him, recognize that there is real concern about Muslims in America. Whether he recognizes that there are any legitimate grounds for such concern is another question.
“Obama Steers Clear of Michigan Muslims He May Need to Win State,” by Heidi Przybyla for Bloomberg, July 16 (thanks to all who sent this in):
July 16 (Bloomberg) — The cover of this week’s New Yorker magazine may explain why Barack Obama isn’t reaching out to Michigan’s Muslims.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is shown in the Oval Office, wearing a turban and bumping fists with his wife, Michelle, who is in combat boots with a rifle slung over her shoulder. The cartoon, intended as satire, is a reminder of the dangers of any association with Muslims for Obama, who has fought false rumors that his middle name, Hussein, indicates he was born into the Islamic faith.
Muslim- and Arab-Americans represent 4 percent of the vote in Michigan, a battleground in this year’s election. Yet Obama, who has held 13 events in the state during the presidential campaign, hasn’t visited a mosque or met with Muslim leaders.
Bill Ballenger, editor of the nonpartisan newsletter Inside Michigan Politics, said Obama, 46, has to strike a delicate balance. The Illinois senator “doesn’t have to pander” to such voters, who are likely to back him anyway, though he can ill- afford to “dismiss them in an arrogant fashion.”
While Obama is leading in Michigan polls, some politicians said it would be a mistake for him not to actively court the state’s Muslim voters, who went for Democrat John Kerry four years ago and Republican George W. Bush in 2000. […]
“We’re not asking for much,” said Imad Hamad, regional director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Dearborn. “We’re asking for equal opportunity and equal time and equal respect. They’ve met with other communities, so why is the Arab-American, Muslim community out of the loop?”
Some Muslim Obama backers said they understood their candidate’s motivation in keeping his distance.
“There’s an Islamophobic wave,” said Ron Amen, an Obama volunteer who is also the facility manager at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn. “I understand him making an effort to convince people that he’s not a Muslim; I don’t want to see Obama get saddled with any more baggage as a result of support from Arabs and Muslims.”