By Reagan Reese
The Republican Party continued to gain more support from Muslim Americans in the 2022 midterm election as members of the community have rallied around parental rights and removing sexually explicit content from schools.
In the 2022 midterm election, Muslims shifted towards the right, with 28% of Muslim voters voting Republican, an 11% increase from the previous 2018 midterms, according to Wall Street Journal exit polling. Parts of the Muslim community saw their values, such as parental rights in education and social conservatism, align more with the GOP platform, activists, community members and politicians told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“There’s lots of conversation in circles, in group chats, at the local mosques and cafes, that although we don’t fit the Democratic or Republican template, we do align more with the social-conservative values, the family values, that are more to the right,” Hassan Chami, a Muslim parent and political activist in Dearborn, Michigan, told the DCNF. “This idea of being accepted by the left as a minority, I don’t think it’s gonna last too much longer because the entire agenda and progressive policies oppose our faith A to Z. It makes us compromise our beliefs.”
From 2018 to 2020, of all religious groups, the Muslim community had the most prominent shift to the Republican party, according to data by the Associated Press VoteCast. In 2018, the margin of difference between Democratic and Republican Muslim voters was 63%, but in 2020 the difference dropped to 29%. (RELATED: ‘This Is Truly About The Kids’: Parents Challenging Explicit Content In Schools Respond To ‘Book Banners’ Label)
Hassan Nehme, former Republican Michigan candidate for the House of Representatives, told the DCNF that with time and effort from the Republican party, the Muslim community will shift in greater numbers.
“It takes time, even when I was trying to get accepted into the Republican Party, it took so many conversations, about how the Judeo-Christian values are the same as Islamic, and showing them ‘hey Jesus is our Savior as well,’ because half of them don’t even know that Muslims believe in Jesus,” Nehme told the DCNF. “It just takes time. They have to be welcoming as well as we have to work on our community actually going to attend. It’s an effort on both sides.”
In October, a Dearborn School Board meeting was postponed after many members of the Muslim community showed up to the meeting protesting the presence of sexually explicit content in the school libraries. The protest over the books began because the Muslim community believes “sexually explicit material is immoral” and they wanted a say in what was made available in schools, members of the community told the DCNF.
Chami told the DCNF that the policies and practices being pushed by Democrats that take away parental rights in education repel the Muslim community.
“Protecting family values and protecting the rights of parents and the respect of parents, it is huge in our eyes,” Chami told the DCNF. “On the left, a lot of the policies are pushing to take parental rights away. You can see that in public schools, in hospitals and the medical field. It’s just gonna get worse.”
Democratic politicians in recent years have attempted to reduce the role parents play in their child’s education; in October, a Democratic Virginia lawmaker announced her plans to introduce a bill that would charge parents with a crime if they do not accept their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity, while Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in 2021 infamously said he wouldn’t let parents “make their own decision” regarding their child’s education.
(Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
“It’s kind of a play on the left, they hijacked the schools a while back to educate the youth,” Nehme told the DCNF. “They no longer believe in the morals and ethics of faith and what the family is providing. After you take out the family, now you only believe what the schools are providing you.”
Stephanie Butler, a parent married to a Muslim who has been working with the religious community to remove sexually explicit content from Dearborn schools, said she feels the community’s values no longer align with the Democratic Party.
“They’re starting to determine that they’ve been lied to by the left,” Butler told the DCNF. “What I’m hearing on the ground is that they feel like they’ve been used by the left. They’re noticing that Democrats are going more and more away from their values and they don’t hold the same values that they thought they once did.”
While the Muslim community is seeing more of an alignment with the Republican Party, the shift to the party could be greater, however, if Republicans would denounce hateful language that attacks the Islamic faith, Chami told the DCNF.
“The right has to denounce this type of rhetoric and speak about the support they have for their American Muslims,” Chami said. “That’s the only way that they’re gonna move forward and they’re gonna capitalize. I think there’s a lot of Muslims in this country who have a lot to offer that the right is missing out on and the left is just hijacking.”