DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 16 (AP) - An influential organization of Arab-American political leaders from the Detroit area gave a unanimous endorsement to Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush on Sunday.

Members of the Arab-American Political Action Committee said their support for the Texas governor was based mainly on political preference.

Many told the Detroit Free Press in a story for Monday editions that Bush has reached out for Arab-Americans' support, while Democratic rival Al Gore has not. But a few also said they were uneasy with Gore's Orthodox Jewish vice presidential candidate, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman.

Bush is "someone who listens, who's flexible on Middle Eastern issues," said committee member Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News in Dearborn. "Lieberman's culture and religion are embedded. Lieberman is already committed in his soul to Israel."

Other committee members played down Lieberman's ethnicity and faith.

"We support good Jewish candidates," said Azzam Elder, an assistant Wayne County prosecutor. The group has supported Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, "and he's Jewish," Elder said. "We go by their policies."

The committee is an influential political force among the nearly 300,000 Arab-Americans living in the Detroit metropolitan area

Bush is locked in a virtual dead heat with Gore in Michigan with less than a month before the election.

Lieberman said Friday that he didn't think his presence on the Democratic ticket would hurt Gore's effort to attract Arab-American votes.

"I'm an American, just like they're Americans. The first interest we have ... is the interest of our country," he said.

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