Muslim Senatorial Candidate Faces Islamophobia

IBOURGEAULT_TASSE is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Senatorial Candidate from Phoenix, Arizona Receives Regular Hate Mail

45-year-old Deedra Abboud is a Democratic candidate from Phoenix, Arizona, who hopes to be elected to the Senate. Her candidacy was not gaining much attention until she made a Facebook post in July, praising the Founding Fathers for separating the church and the state so that both institutions can be protected freely. Then, the comments started.

Multiple Facebook users left hateful and xenophobic comments directed toward her being a Muslim and wearing a Hijab. Some called her a “towel-headed piece of s-“, while some said that there are no rooms for Muslim in their government. Some even went so far as to comment that Deedra “needs to star in the next isis video. Dressed in orange and on her knees”. One comment on her Instagram account even told her to kill herself and called her “a sharia loving Un- American invader.”

Many assumed that Deedra is an immigrant from the Middle East, but she is actually from Little Rock, Arkansas and then in the late 1990’s, moved to Arizona. She is an immigration and estate law attorney and has even been the founding director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Arizona. Apart from being an accomplished lawyer, she is also a community activist.

The Facebook page of her campaign clearly reflects her beliefs, where she often posts about her policy positions, which are all very liberal. She champions LGBTQ rights, is in favor of protecting the environment and advocates easier access to health-care and increased minim wage.

Deedra even held a news conference where she addressed the hateful Facebook comment she received. She said that such comments over-generalize a large and diverse community of people who happen to practice the same faith, saying that some people believe that every Muslim has “no freedom of thought”. She also added that she does not identify herself as a Muslim candidate, but rather as a candidate who happens to be Muslim.

Deedra, even after clearly mentioning that she does not wish to be identified only as a Muslim candidate, continues to receive a lot of questions regarding her religion, and still find herself defending Islam. She said that she will only answer “when questions about her religion are relevant”.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter