The following is a statement from Scott Simpson, public advocacy director for Muslim Advocates, regarding recently reported anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric in the campaign for the 50th Congressional District of California and in Minnesota’s Attorney General race. In California, a candidate has made repeatedly incorrect and inflammatory statements about American Muslims and paid for ads claiming that his opponent is part of a Muslim conspiracy to “infiltrate Congress.” In Minnesota, anti-Muslim activists are planning to disrupt the campaign events of a Muslim candidate for attorney general – dressed as camels –to accuse him of working with “jihadis.”
In an election where anti-Muslim falsehoods, conspiracy theories, and fearmongering are commonplace, the statements and protests in California and Minnesota are among the most naked and most explicit expressions of bigotry.
In California, a candidate is falsely painting an image of Islam as something other than a religion – as a ‘government’ that needs to be ‘fought;’ is claiming that teaching students not to bully Muslims is propaganda; and is running ads tying his opponent to a fictional conspiracy by Muslims to ‘infiltrate’ Congress.
In Minnesota, white supremacists are disrupting a Muslim candidates’ campaign events to spread hate, propaganda, and misinformation about Islam.
These aren’t accidental and unrehearsed expressions of bigotry, these are calculated attacks on an entire religion. This rhetoric only hurts the country. It gives license to those who commit acts of violence against American Muslims and, as we’ve seen in election after election, it rarely even results in votes.
Muslim Advocates is a 501c3 charity and we do not endorse or oppose candidates for office. Muslim Advocates is tracking and responding to this type of rhetoric because hate violence against Muslims is now at an all-time high and, according to California State University-San Bernardino, this rhetoric is strongly correlated to increases in hate violence.