A Republican candidate who wanted to be inclusive went to the Muslim Community of Folsom and posed with some members of the community center. However, this act of diversity and showing compassion towards people belonging to a different religion was a major let down for his supporters.
California Republican Andrew Grant was campaigning like all other political candidates do, so he took a picture with the current president of the community center, Mohammed Khader and Fiaz Saied, the former president, and uploaded it on Facebook.
But his support for Muslims wasn’t approved by his own supporters.
“I want someone to represent me,” commented a man named Jim. “The white, heterosexual, conservative man seems to be forgotten. Politicians seem to search out victims.”
“Jim, I’m also those things and can represent the good people that I met at this event and you equally well,” the candidate responded.
Jim commented back explaining he didn’t have any issues with Grant talking with “Muslim and Sikh” people but said that his major focus should be people like him. “Don’t forget us [sic] veterans. I’ve seen you at the Hall.”
“Am I someone who would like to convince them that I can represent the people in the photo as well as I can represent them? Of course,” said Grant, who visited the mosque and community center to attend their Eid al-Adha celebration. “It frustrates me that the immediate response was you don’t have my vote because of that photo. It was a surprise,” he wrote.
Grant further clarified that being anti-Muslim was not a “Republican value.”
“I don’t think our party has any room for that. People ask me, why are you Republican? It’s because I trust people and the role of government,” he wrote.
Sara Collette, a local psychotherapist who intended to vote for Grant’s opponent, said she appreciated the Republican for reaching out to the people and engaging in a dialogue. “We need more people on both sides of the aisle that are going to stand up for what’s right and not just what’s politically expedient,” Collette told The Bee.
“He didn’t apologize for meeting people that he’s running to represent. I hope Ami Bera wins because he aligns much more with how I view things, however, if he doesn’t, I am glad that at least Mr. Grant is one, wanting to meet with not just one demographic in his district, and two, calling out injustice and saying what’s wrong when it’s wrong,” she continued.
Grant’s democratic opponent is Rep. Ami Bera who he will face in November.
Apart from Collette, many other conservative Republicans assured Grant that they fully supported him.
“Please know that there are plenty of conservative Republicans who support you doing this kind of thing. Some of these comments are infuriating and heartbreaking. I also really appreciate Zaid engaging in dialogue with you and in these comments. I wish I was in the District so I could vote for you and in the area to visit the mosque and wish that community well,” commented Arturo Silva on Facebook.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Melanie Stetson Freeman, The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images