Barack Obama has gone out of his way not to be seen with Muslim or Arab-American leaders, and he's still never set foot in a mosque as president, but behind the scenes, his administration is listening and responding to the concerns of American Muslims. Community leaders have participated in policy discussions and briefings with top administration figures, and have had private meetings with Janet Napolitano and Eric Holder, the New York Times reports.
Those discussions helped convince the White House to adjust some airport security policies, and to allow visits from some previously banned Muslim professors. “For the first time in eight years, we have the opportunity to meet, engage, discuss,” says the president of one Arab-American group. But a few critics complain that they're reaching out to the wrong organizations; Jarrett, for example, once spoke before a group that was once accused of helping funnel money to Hamas.