Yesterday, the Fairfax GOP held its latest “Conversations That Matter” conversation, with Fairfax GOP leader/Virginia GOP State Central Committee member Vinson Palathingal (see A Member of the Fairfax Republicans’ Leadership Participated in Wednesday’s Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol for more on Palathingal) interviewing…this guy, Dr. Mohammed Hamzepour, founder of the “Iranian American Patriots” (see here for more). Anyway, Palathingal had some…uh, “interesting” (in air quotes) things to say about the Republican Party, Muslims, etc. See below for video and a transcript, including Palathingal’s comments that he lost the 2019 Fairfax County School Board election because he “had that brown Muslim look, so it is very difficult…to get votes from the Republican Party.”
Note, by the way, that Palathingal is a self-described “Catholic from India,” and that he got clobbered in November by Democrats Karen Keys-Gamarra (who is African-American), Abrar Omeish (who is a hijab-wearing Muslim, by the way, yet won *easily*) and Rachna Sizemore Heizer (a first-generation Indian/South Asian American who also…yes, won *easily*)…despite running what he calls a “great campaign.” Hmmm. So the bottom line is that Fairfax County voters – overwhelmingly Democrats at this point, as the Republican Party has alienated a large majority of Fairfax County – appear VERY willing to elect people of color such as Karen Keys-Gamarra, Abrar Omeish and Rachna Sizemore Heizer. What Fairfax County voters do NOT appear very willing to do is to elect extremists, bigots, etc. – such as Vinson Palathingal – to the School Board. And thank goodness for that!
As for the other stuff Palathingal says, such as about how “Republicans are suspicious of Muslims because they think if Muslims…numbers increase they come into leadership, then they will start changing the systems from the current constitutional republic that we have into maybe a Sharia or something like that if their numbers increase,” where does one even start? That is, other than urge everyone not to vote for this bizarre, extreme, bigoted Trump GOP(Q)…
“We wanted to cover another major issue that I think is so important for us to cover
because I know when I ran for school board in 2019, I ran a great campaign and I didn’t win. It’s very difficult to win in this area as you know. But when we analyzed the facts, we came upon one major reason, like multiple people suggested to me that you had that brown Muslim look. So it is very difficult for you to get votes from the Republican Party. And I discussed with many Republicans about this…how we can change this, because there are a lot of Muslims who live in our area. And they agreed that yes, there is some kind of a prejudice against Muslims…And the Muslims on the other hand, they are really struggling because their values they’re very conservative people, they really want to identify themselves with a political party that holds their values as the primary values of the party in terms of family, in terms of education, in terms of hard work, in terms of…kind of being in the business, not looking for you know free money. So both you know the Republicans as well as the Muslim Americans are in some kind of a dilemma how to reconcile this.
So when I look into the root cause of the problem, this is what I see so for a Republican -they don’t really care where you come from or whatever. I’m a Catholic from India, but because people who don’t know me, they see me as a brown Muslim…from Pakistan or maybe from Iran or somewhere, and they don’t vote for me without really knowing me. So as far as we are concerned, we are not talking religion or anything here. The root cause of the problem is Republicans are suspicious of Muslims because they think if Muslims…numbers increase they come into leadership, then they will start changing the systems from the current constitutional republic that we have into maybe a Sharia or something like that if their numbers increase. And unfortunately, there are tendencies like that we see, wherever Muslim numbers increase. Like for example in Patterson, New Jersey, there is now the Islamic you know call for prayer approved.
So how can we have these two to reconcile? We really want to maintain our American way of life. We wanted to make sure that our constitutional republic is not challenged by Sharia or any religious way of life. But at the same time the Muslim people needs some kind of a political entity that represents them – the family values and the hard work and the…typical nuclear family concept.”