Muslim civil rights organization calls on state GOP leaders to denounce hateful rhetoric
(BALTIMORE, MD, 11/2/18) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on GOP leaders in Maryland to repudiate a racist, misleading campaign mailer sent to homes in Howard County by Republican County Council Candidate, Raj Kathuria.
The flyer depicts three shirtless, heavily tattooed Latino gang members beneath an image of the Democratic contender for the seat, Liz Walsh, and warns in part: “Will make Howard County a sanctuary county.”
The image of the Latino men appears to have been pulled from a similarly racist mailer distributed by GOP New York County Executive Candidate Jack Martins, who is running in Nassau County against Democratic contender Laura Curran. The text above the image of the gang members on that mailer reads: “Meet your new neighbors! Laura Curran will roll out the welcome mat for gangs like MS-13.”
The mailer stirred controversy in New York, and is generating similar outrage in Howard County, where Kathuria is competing against Democratic Candidate Liz Walsh for the county’s District 1 seat.
“Racist, dog whistle tactics and anti-immigrant hate mongering are deplorable and beneath what should be the level of basic civility used by candidates for public office in our state,” said CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry. “Regardless of party affiliation, candidates have a responsibility to demonstrate that they can conduct themselves in a morally and ethically-sound manner.”
Chaudry noted that Kathuria is himself an immigrant, and that this mailer is only the latest in a string of incidents involving candidates and officials in Maryland that the civil rights organization has challenged.
Earlier this week, CAIR criticized President Trump’s recent pledge to strip away by executive order the right to citizenship for children born in the United States to non-citizens and undocumented immigrants as “racist, politically-motivated and unconstitutional.”
CAIR recently called on Governor Hogan and the Maryland Republican Party to denounce an Anne Arundel County councilman’s bigotry and is again urging both to exemplify leadership by publicly condemning anti-immigrant, Islamophobic and racist rhetoric from members of their party, and holding them accountable.
In recent weeks, the civil rights organization has welcomed apologies from the Mayor of the City of Hagerstown and a different Howard County Council candidate for intolerant messages and campaign mailers.
CAIR’s 2018 Civil Rights Report, ”˜Targeted’, the organization recorded a 17 percent increase in bias-motivated incidents against Muslim Americans from 2016-17, and a 15 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the same time period.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
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