Shadab Siddiqi wonders why Republicans have such a negative view of Muslims. In a widely circulated e-mail in Knoxville, he cites national polls that show that the majority of Republicans view Muslims, Arabs, and Muslim-Americans in a negative light.
He cites an Arab American Institute poll that showed Republicans have a 57 percent negative view and a 26 percent positive view. Democrats had only a 29 percent negative view and a 49 percent positive view.
Siddiqi, a Knoxville native and Webb School and University of Tennessee grad, is a downtown businessman who leases office space. His appeal is that there be some sort of event staged to bring Muslim-Americans and others together, suggesting that the negativity may result from most Americans not being acquainted with Muslims.
The controversy over the mosque in Lebanon, Tenn., has received national attention. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann wants an investigation of the Muslim Brotherhood "infiltration" of the American government. Siddiqi notes that there is still a widespread belief among Republicans that President Obama is a Muslim, despite his frequent references to his Christian beliefs.
Siddiqi suggests that local pastors reach out to the Muslim community for interfaith services.