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Muslim Civil Rights Activist Condemns Ad Depicting Gillespie Supporter as Racist

Ed Gillespie / Getty Images
• October 31, 2017 12:55 pm

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Rafi Uddin Ahmed, the former president of the Muslim Association of Virginia, castigated the Latino Victory Fund for trying to depict Virginia's Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie and his supporters as racists who attack minority children.

The Latino Victory Fund, a progressive political action committee, released an ad on Monday showing a man driving a pick-up truck with a Gillespie campaign sticker, a Tea Party license plate, and a Confederate flag on the back as he chases down a pair of Latino boys, an African-American boy, and a Muslim girl wearing a hijab. The four children run into an alley and try to climb a fence as the truck is speeding towards them, but the children then wake up, revealing the experience was a nightmare that would exist if Gillespie was elected.

The ad shows footage from back in August when white supremacists marched with tiki torches in Charlottesville, Va. with a voiceover that says, "Is this what Donald Trump and Ed Gillespie mean by ‘the American dream?'"

Ahmed, who described himself as a "civil rights activist," pushed back against the characterization of Gillespie in a Facebook post, saying it is "troublesome."

Ahmed began his post by saying people in his community, including himself, were not happy about some of Gillespie's campaign ads. He said the ads depicted "everyday, hard-working Latinos" as members of the MS-13 gang while trying to tie Democratic gubernatorial opponent Ralph Northam to increased gang violence in the state. He nevertheless defended Gillespie from the Latino Victory Fund attack ad.

"The ad below is trying to equate Ed Gillespie, who is a candidate for governor in the Nov. 7th Virginia elections, with the very same racism and hatred that he quickly spoke out against after the events in Charlottesville," Ahmed said. "I consider Mr. Ed Gillespie a personal friend and an upstanding person of principle, moral values, and integrity."

"Ed has worked very hard to establish a better understanding between the Muslim community and GOP. Ed openly condemn [sic] the Charollettsville [sic] incident and said that there's no place for that in our society," he continued.

Ahmed said he understands that some Muslims will equate attacks from Republicans  as evidence that every Republican is racist, but he said that is not a fair assessment. He said even equating Gillespie's ideology to the rest of the Republican Party is just as troublesome as saying all Muslims are terrorists.

"Ed Gillespie has spoken out against racism and bigotry, he has visited minority communities, he has asked those communities what he can do to support them to achieve the American dream, and he has proven himself to be a leader who cares for all Virginians," Ahmed concluded.

According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Ahmed has donated nearly $10,000 to candidates from both parties dating back to 2007. He has donated $4,100 to Democratic candidates and $4,823 to Republican candidates.

Published under: Ed Gillespie, Ralph Northam, Virginia