Governor candidate in Michigan denounces racist campaign tactics

Governor candidate in Michigan denounces racist campaign tactics
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Governor candidate in Michigan denounces racist campaign tactics

Breaking: Abdul El-Sayed’s statement on Anti-Muslim Bigotry

By Ray Hanania

A recent BuzzFeed investigation, titled “A Republican Running For Governor In Michigan Is Using Unfounded Conspiracy Theories Against A Muslim American Rival,” found that Patrick Colbeck, a Ted Cruz and Sean Hannity-endorsed GOP candidate for Governor, targeted Abdul El-Sayed at a presentation delivered to an anti-Muslim hate group.

The BuzzFeed story by writer Talal Ansari reported thatPatrick Colbeck, a Republican rival of Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed claimed that El-Sayed has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Attacking the ethnicity of Arab American and Muslim candidates is a frequent strategy used by haters and racists to undermine their rivals in political elections. More often, Muslim Arabs are the targets of the hate rhetoric used to distract voters away from the real issues in the election.

Abdul El-Sayed with members of the Michigan Women's March in 2017. Photo courtesy of El-Sayed's Facebook Page.

Abdul El-Sayed with members of the Michigan Women’s March in 2017. Photo courtesy of El-Sayed’s Facebook Page.

Racism and hate are strategies that users hope will elevate them artificially by “lowering” the perceptions of their election rivals in election contests.

In this case, the candidate is using the growing atmosphere of anti-Muslim hatred in America to target El-Sayed who is both Arab and Muslim and one of Michigan’s leading candidates for governor.

El-Sayed has advocated a platform of progressive policies he hopes to implement if elected Governor this year in the November 6, 2018 General Elections. The Michigan primary elections are on August 7, 2018.

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El-Sayed’s website is

Abdul El-Sayed issued the following summary and statement in response to Colbeck’s alleged comments, reported by BuzzFeed:

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.”

“Of course, I knew that in choosing to run for Governor as an unapologetic, proud Muslim and American, I was going to contend with the ugly face of white supremacy that Donald Trump and his friends have sanctioned. But I know that every day I serve this state and this country by holding us to our ideals and our constitution which empower and inspire me to serve every single person in our state, regardless of my ethnicity, color, or faith. I know how much this means to so many people of color who feel locked out of political representation and government decisions.

But what has inspired me most is that, having traveled to over 100 cities statewide – including places where there are few people of color at all, let alone Muslim-Americans – Michiganders are not asking how I pray, but what I pray for – and what I care about. And that is building a just, equitable Michigan where we have good jobs that pay a living wage, universal healthcare, clean water, and great public schools. The Michigan we’re building is the one where all of our kids have a fair and equal shot at their best lives – regardless of where they live, who they love, and how they pray, or if they pray at all. I will always fight for all Michiganders and for our future.”

Abdul El-Sayed, Democratic Candidate for Michigan Governor

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is running for governor to make state government work for all Michiganders, and not just the privileged few. Abdul is a Rhodes scholar, physician and public health expert who, as Detroit’s health commissioner, launched a program to ensure every child who needed one got a free pair of glasses. Abdul is running on a platform of bold, progressive ideas to address gaping inequality between the rich and poor, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, passing Medicare for All to guarantee health care as a right, and making college tuition free for families earning less than $150,000 a year.

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Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, Middle East Monitor in London, the, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appeare in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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