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Deedra Abboud—believed to be the first Muslim to run for statewide office in Arizona—has lived in the state for 19 years. An attorney and founder of a leadership consulting firm, she announced her decision in April to run to unseat Sen. Jeff Flake in the 2018 election.
She told CNN earlier this week that even though her announcement had triggered “negative comments about her religion,” they haven’t been as much of a problem since then.
But a post to Abboud’s page Tuesday set off more hateful rhetoric, including the comment “How about go fuck yourself. Towel headed piece of shit.”
Abboud’s post was an image of the Declaration of Independence with commentary about the Founding Fathers’ desire to separate church and state. “Government would be free from religious overreach, and religion would be free from government interference,” her post read.
That’s when the anti-Muslim sentiment poured in: “Nice try but your first love is Satan (AKA Allah) and your second love is to a litter box your ‘people’ come from.” Also, “Vote to send them back to the sand pit, were (sic) these scumbag people belong!” And “BAN ISLAM IN THE USA…WE HATE YOUR FILTHY DEATH CULT.”
A spokesperson for Abboud, Jaclyn Freedman, told USA Today‘s azcentral.com the campaign hires extra security for events.
“We make sure to have police escorts at our events because yes, we have received a lot of hate,” Freedman said. “We had an event at the Pomegranate Cafe that the alt-right showed up at.”
Flake, Abboud’s opponent, tweeted a classy response to the hateful comments.
Abboud replied in gratitude.
In a statement to CNN, Abboud disregarded the negative comments.
“We have to step forward because this is America. This is the United States of America—there is a promise here,” Abboud told CNN. “There is a promise that every person has equal opportunity.”
If she wins the state’s Democratic primary in August 2018, Abboud will face off against Flake in the fall.
H/T the Cut
Kris Seavers is the IRL editor for the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.