From the Qasim Rashid for State Senate campaign:
GOP Senate Candidate launches attack on Virginia’s value of religious freedom
Attacks Democratic opponent’s faith and loyalty
Stafford, VA – On August 26, Virginia Senator Richard Stuart (R-SD28) released an attack campaign against Democratic nominee Qasim Rashid, invoking terrorism and other anti-Muslim tropes. In response, Rashid said, “We will not respond in kind as doing so is beneath the dignity of the office. Moreover, Jesus Christ taught to love thy neighbor. That’s our response.”
The ads target Rashid’s faith and question his loyalty as an American by stating that Rashid “doesn’t believe Islamic terrorism exists” and “has blamed U.S. military for causing terrorism.” Rashid has already faced death threats due to misinformation related to his race and faith, including a threat to lynch him for his faith, for which the suspect is facing felony charges.
Virginia is the epicenter of religious freedom in America and we must protect this legacy. While I am used to receiving hatred and threats from extremists, racists, and terrorists, I am deeply disturbed to receive such hatred from a sitting Virginia State Senator. The truth is that these types of attacks are designed to distract Virginians from the real issues that have harmed Virginia’s working families in the 28th district and beyond.
During my opponent’s 12 years in office, Virginia’s teachers have remained underpaid and under-supported. As Virginia’s infrastructure crumbles and climate change destroys the Northern Neck, my opponent takes money from developers and energy companies who advance that deterioration. As Virginia ranks dead last in America for workers’ rights, my opponent suppresses the poverty wage at $7.25/hour, denies paid sick leave, and opposes unions. As healthcare costs devastate Virginians, my opponent voted against Medicaid expansion in an attempt to deny healthcare to 400,000 low income Virginians. After promising to vote for the Equal Rights Amendment, my opponent flip flopped and voted against it.
The 28th Senate district deserves compassionate, civil representation dedicated to improving the lives of working families—not attacking people’s faith and loyalty. As a proud American, I have sworn a Constitutional oath to uphold fairness for all people and protect Virginia’s value of religious freedom. Attacks notwithstanding, I will continue to serve my fellow Virginians of all faiths and backgrounds and ensure working families in Virginia finally have a seat at the table.
Rashid is a human rights lawyer, author, and recognized voice on religious persecution and interfaith dialogue. He has spent his career fighting for religious freedom around the world, and is running for Virginia Senate to fight for working families at home.