The state of Michigan has the largest contingent of Muslims of any state throughout the nation. Up until this point, Michigan Muslims have remained largely confined to enclaves such as Dearborn or Hamtramck, but a political hopeful is hoping to take Muslim leadership state-wide.
Muslim progressive activist Abdul El-Sayed is running as a Democrat to be Michigan’s governor in 2018. He has worn his views on his sleeve, and recently issued an ominous attack against people of the Christian faith. After he was accused of associating with Islamic radicals including the Muslim Brotherhood by his Republican Christian conservative challenger, State Senator Pat Colbeck, El-Sayed took aim at the man and his supporters.
“What frustrates me more is not that you have blatant racism on the part of certain people, but what frustrates me more is in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, is not when bad people speak out but when good people fail to speak out, and what I have not heard is the Republicans on this panel, decisively and swiftly call out this kind of Islamophobia, this kind of racism, in the context that they are wanting to represent the state that has the highest per-capita number of Muslim Americans in the country,” El-Sayed said.
“Now you may not hate Muslims, but I’ll tell you, Muslims definitely hate you!” El-Sayed exclaimed. The message was apparently aimed at Colbeck and his largely Christian conservative base of support. He was not specific in pointing out how any Colbeck’s comments in particular were racist, but a mainstream media smear campaign painted Colbeck as a racist anyway – reflexively taking the side of the Muslim socialist over the Christian patriot.
“They pitched this comment around my concern about the Muslim Brotherhood as a concern about Muslims in general. I love Muslims. It’s not an issue. The issue is about terrorist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood,” Colbeck said.
The supposedly racist and offensive comment made by Colbeck was made at a national security forum. It reads as follows: “We also have somebody I will also likely be running against in the general election, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, whose parents apparently have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood back in Egypt. This is scary stuff.”
El-Sayed has not addressed Colbeck’s claims specifically, and Colbeck maintains that he will retract his statements if they are proven to be false. Retired Department of Homeland Security officer Philip Haney, who hosted Colbeck at the conference where the controversial remarks were made, claims this is part of the Jihadi playbook.
“He did what those guys tend to do, which is to change the narrative whenever the issue of Sharia comes up and make it about racism and so-called Islamophobia,” Haney said. “But he showed his true colors there at the end. He’s not as slick as he thinks he is.”
The Michigan gubernatorial primary takes place on Aug.7, where El-Sayed and Colbeck are both considered long shots to win their respective party’s nomination.