The Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has accused two politicos of smear campaigning and fear mongering in separate Orange County races.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the CAIR office based in Anaheim, cited the remarks by former California Republican Party chairman Shawn Steel, who in a letter called Anaheim City Council candidate Bill Dalati, who is of Arab descent, a “Manchurian candidate.” He also questioned Dalati's patriotism for supporting political candidates opposed to George W. Bush's Iraq policies, and criticized Dalati for participating in a rally–attended by Christians, Jews, Muslims and people of other faiths–that called for an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East. Steel, who supports the candidacy of Dalati's incumbent opponent Bob Hernandez, “has a history of Islamophobia,” and “he once claimed Islam is a diseased religion,” reports CAIR.
Meanwhile, CAIR is also lashing out against Tan Nguyen, the Republican seeking to upset popular Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove). Nguyen has angered local Muslims with “his offensive and inflammatory use of a photograph of a Middle Eastern terrorist to link the hot-button issues of illegal immigration and terrorism,” claims CAIR, which notes that Sanchez has worked closely with all religious groups, including Muslims.
“We call on all Californians to repudiate attempts to spread fear of Islam and Muslims by falsely labeling Arab-American and Muslim candidates seeking office as extremists,” Ayloush says. “It is disturbing to see public officials exploit growing anti-Muslim prejudice and bias within our society by using smear campaigns and fear mongering.”