Sam Rasoul, an American Muslim, was asked if he would represent its components “regardless of faith and beliefs.”
A Muslim political candidate for lieutenant government in the U.S. state of Virginia has been given a roof over his head after being asked a question in a televised debate that critics describe as “Islamophobic.”
During the only televised political debate of the campaign on Tuesday night, WJLA TV anchor Dave Lucas, one of the moderators, asked Rasoul a question that sparked widespread accusations of Islamophobia and a large number of convictions. on social media.
“The Washington Post reported your fundraising effort is “category leader” because of some out-of-state donors connected to Muslim advocacy groups (there’s nothing wrong with that), but it was like that, ”Lucas said during the debate held at George Mason University in Fairfax.
“Talk a little about your fundraising efforts and can you assure Virginians that if you choose, you will represent them all, regardless of faith and beliefs?”
Rasoul, 39, the son of Palestinian immigrants and one of six candidates nominated, responded that he was “proud to have a 100% privately funded campaign, with most collaborators from Virginia.”
Public records show that Rasoul has raised more than $ 1.2 million in funds since last year. Its main donor is Manal Fakhoury, a pharmacist living in Florida, and a board member of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights group. He is said to have contributed more than $ 74,000 to the Rasoul campaign.
Following the debate, Rasoul tweeted an image of Virginia’s religious freedom status, which the state adopted in 1786, a document that separates the church from the state and guarantees freedom of religion, without discrimination.
“We serve all people. Of all the confessions. We welcome you and love you as you are, ”Rasoul tweeted.
Joshua Cole, who is running for re-election to the Virginia House of Representatives, said he was never asked about how much money he received from “Christian donors.”
“I just want a Virginia where Sam Rasoul can be measured by the merit of his work and not by the stereotype of his faith,” he said in a tweet.
During all the campaign years, I was never asked about how many “Christian” donors I had. I just want a Virginia where @Sam_Rasoul it can be measured by the merit of his work and not by the stereotype of his faith. 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/JPRLcYKfow
– Delegate Joshua Cole (@JoshuaCole) May 26, 2021
Sean Perryman, also a candidate for lieutenant government, also condemned the issue.
“No other candidate was asked about his ability to serve all Virginians for his faith,” he tweeted.
Susan Swecker, president of the Democratic Party in Virginia, said the moderator’s question was a “major failure” and that faith-based questions are “discriminatory and inexcusable.”
💯correct. We don’t ask about Christian donors, Jewish donors, and so on. It’s okay to look at donor funding, but making it based on faith is discriminatory and inexcusable. Significant failure on the part of the moderator and this was personally conveyed to the moderator tonight after the debate. https://t.co/kDJ1HS3T9y
– Susan Swecker (@DPVAChair) May 26, 2021
On Wednesday, CAIR said WJLA senior vice president Bill Fanshawe apologized in an email, calling the question “inappropriate and disrespectful.”
“We welcome this apology and thank the WJLA for stepping up and taking appropriate action in response to this Islamophobic incident,” CAIR national executive director Nihad Awad said in a statement. “All Americans should be able to participate in the political process of our nation without fear of being distinguished based on their faith.”
Rasoul is currently one of two Muslim members of the Virginia General Assembly and is elected progressive lieutenant governor. platform this includes raising the state minimum wage, expanding child care programs, and making health care cheaper.
Virginia’s Democratic primary election is scheduled for June 8, ahead of the November 2 general election.