New York City, US – Deedra Abboud, a Muslim American Democrat who is running for an Arizona Senate seat next year, stirred a hornets’ nest in early July.
The headscarf-wearing politician wrote on her Facebook page about the separation of church and state, spurring a barrage of criticism.
“Get out stinking Muslim,” read one post on her page.
Her Republican rival, Senator Jeff Flake, and others, came to Abboud’s defence. But many of the online trolls could not get past the headscarf to see that blue-eyed Abboud was a convert who was born and raised in Arkansas.
“I went in with my eyes wide open. I knew exactly what would happen and what would come out of the woodwork,” Abboud, 45, told Al Jazeera.
In a toxic political climate that teaches people to “demonise our fellow Americans”, voters are more focused on Abboud’s faith thanAbboud has only a slim chance of winning in a traditionally red state that helped Donald Trump become president. The attack on her was just the latest example of the uphill struggle Muslims face at the ballot box. on her policies for defending gays, immigrants and the right to have an abortion, she said.