A former Beaufort County commissioner candidate and her husband said
alleged religious slurs could have hurt them and their family during the

Republican Sonya Shamseldin and her husband, Mo Shamseldin, who noted he is
an unaffiliated voter, said certain Republicans spread rumors about the
couple’s religious affiliations during the campaign preceding the July 20
primary election.

The Shamseldins, both from Pinetown, said party activists opposing Sonya
Shamseldin’s candidacy told people she is a Muslim because they wanted to
discredit her.

Sonya Shamseldin said she is a Christian and a member of the Baptist
denomination. Her husband, who is originally from Egypt and is an American
citizen, is a Muslim. A local businessman, Mo Shamseldin has lived in the
United States for more than 20 years.

“They’re attacking my family,” Sonya Shamseldin said.

Noting that he condemned the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers after the terrorist
attacks of that year, calling the attackers “murderers,” Mo Shamseldin said
he feared the alleged slurs could be hurtful to his children, family and

“You cannot be successful by destroying other successful people,” he said.

He asserted that he is proud of his name, Mohammed, and his religion.

Sonya Shamseldin claimed GOP Commissioner Hood Richardson, the top
vote-getter in the Republican primary, helped disseminate the rumors, “to
spread the fear of the unknown to somebody else.”

Republican Del Stutzman of Washington said Richardson called her twice
during the campaign.

Stutzman said Richardson told her Mo Shamseldin was taking people to vote
“in an Egyptian-looking car” with “some Egyptian-looking people.”

The Shamseldins said they helped register about 100 voters and took some to
the polls.

Stutzman said that Richardson told her, “We needed to stop this because we
didn’t want any Muslims on the county commissioners.”

Added Stutzman, “I just think that he’s very bigoted to make a statement
like that. I mean, this is 1965 all over again…


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