Back in February, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dr. Abdul El-Sayed accused unnamed “establishment Democrats” of using “birther-like tactics” to derail his primary campaign after Bridge magazine published an article raising questions about his eligibility to run due to residency requirements. I was hard on Dr. El-Sayed writing, “Publishing this article is not a “birther-like” tactic and the accusation is offensive. People of color in this country face real racism every single day of their lives. To claim racism in this instance is to equate that real pain and harm to a cheap political stunt.”
This week, Dr. El-Sayed got a taste of what “birther-like tactics” actually look like. Republican candidate for governor Patrick Colbeck, a notorious and well-known anti-Muslim bigot, provided the case study:
A Republican candidate for governor in Michigan used a typical and unfounded anti-Muslim conspiracy theory during a presentation about his Muslim American Democratic rival, suggesting he is part of an unfounded Muslim plot to engage in “civilization jihad” that is subversively attempting to take over the country.
The candidate, Patrick Colbeck, who is currently a state senator of Michigan’s 7th District, made the remarks about Dr. Abdul El-Sayed while delivering a slideshow at an event held by the United West in April 2018. The group has been classified as an “active anti-Muslim group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks the activity of hate organizations.
“So Hamtramck is now the first majority Muslim city council,” Colbeck can be heard saying on a slide called “Position of Influence,” with a picture of El-Sayed. Hamtramck is a city in Michigan.
“But we also have somebody that I will likely be running against in the general election, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, whose parents apparently have ties to Muslim Brotherhood back in Egypt. This is scary stuff,” Colbeck said. “They’re already advertising him as the first Muslim governor. So this is a big deal.”
When you read the Buzzfeed article, the first thing that comes to mind is that any rational person running for office anywhere in the USA would give The United West a wide berth. They are beyond extremist in their anti-Muslim views:
The presentation, titled “Colbeck Explanatory Memorandum Part 1,” was posted on YouTube by an account called Sharia Crime Stoppers on April 16. A page promoting the event on the United West’s website — which also has a section called Sharia Crime Stoppers — describes Colbeck as having “studied and learned the history of Sharia, the Muslim Brotherhood, and their plan to take down America.”
“One of his potential opponents is a Sharia-compliant Democrat candidate Abdul El-Sayed,” the website, which also has five embedded videos from the event, reads. The words are hyperlinked to another page that says El-Sayed is displaying an ISIS hand gesture.
Claims that “El-Sayed may harbor Islamist convictions and be a Trojan horse are not unfounded,” the website says, “especially given the reality of what some have dubbed a ‘stealth jihad.’”
Patrick Colbeck — who has been endorsed by Ted Cruz and Sean Hannity — is a disgrace to the state of Michigan. He’s using Dr. El-Sayed’s religion to bolster his campaign among people with the most abhorrent views imaginable. He wants them to believe that Dr. El-Sayed, who is actually in third place in the Democratic primary according to the four polls taken in 2018, is his likely candidate so that he can stoke up their anti-Muslim hatred.
I think Michigan Democratic Party Chair speaks for all of us in this tweet:
Patrick Colbeck is a pathetic, bigoted fool. Unfortunately, his anti-Muslim views are all too common in Donald Trump's Republican Party.
Michigan is blessed to have a thriving Muslim community and my party is glad that Dr. El Sayed is a Democrat. https://t.co/Nt5a1BKM9h
— Brandon Dillon (@BrandonDillon75) April 25, 2018
I went hard on Dr. El-Sayed back in February for a good reason: We face real bigotry, real un-American ugliness in this country and minority groups bear the brunt of this insidious evil every single day. Suggesting that the Bridge article was somehow on this same level is an insult to those who are forced to deal with it day in and day out.
We have real ideological foes in Michigan and we all need to keep our focus on THEM as we work to retake control of Michigan.
[CC bigotry image credit: Photographing Travis | Flickr, El-Sayed image credit: Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]