Dr. Abdul al-Sayed, a Democrat who is Michigan’s first-ever Muslim gubernatorial candidate, issued a retort to a Republican gubernatorial candidate that some observers say was out of line. Michigan state senator Patrick Colbeck, who is seeking to replace Gov. Rick Snyder, expressed concerns over Islamic religious law and the Muslim Brotherhood. Colbeck asserted that Sayed’s supporters planted an article on the Buzzfeed news website, which depicted Colbeck as an extremist who holds “unfounded conspiracy theories.”
Colbeck joined Sayed and other gubernatorial candidates on stage at the Michigan Press Association in a candidate’s forum in advance of the August 7 primary.
Michigan has the nation’s largest mosque and highest concentration of Muslims. A federal court is trying the country’s first case of female genital mutilation. In addition, Michigan is also facing a trial on a possible honor killing in which a 15-year-old Muslim boy allegedly pushed his mother to her death while she was going through a divorce from his father.
In response to Colbeck’s concerns, Sayed said Colbeck is an Islamophobe and a racist who Muslims “definitely hate.” The 33-year-old Sayed, who is a former public-health director for the city of Detroit, also refused to answer a question from the moderator about the Islamic legal/religious system known as Sharia. He did say that, as governor, he would uphold the U.S. and state constitutions.
Sayed said at the forum, “I take [the Constitution] particularly seriously because it guarantees me two things. A, the right to pray as I choose to pray, and for me that means I put my face on the ground 34 times a day.” Sayed said, “Some people choose not to pray at all. Then in Article Six it also tells us that no religious test should be held over someone wishing to serve under this Constitution. It’s an incredible document.”
Sayed also charged Republicans in general with racism and “white supremacy.” at Republicans in general but saved his most severe critique for Colbeck, the one GOP candidate who has dared to talk about the issue of creeping Sharia in a state that has the country’s highest concentration of Muslims and has the nation’s first case of female genital mutilation working its way through the federal courts. Michigan also recently had a case involving a possible honor killing in which a 15-year-old Muslim boy in Farmington Hills allegedly pushed his mother to her death at a time when she was going through a divorce from his father.
Colbeck has expressed concern over the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood -- a Muslim political movement that has been tied to terrorism in Egypt and elsewhere for decades and which has called for having a Muslim caliphate established in Syria. The Muslim Brotherhood has been deemed a terrorist organization by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and is an unindicted co-conspirator in 2004 federal trial that sent five members of an Islamic charity called the Holy Land Foundation to prison in 2008 for channelling funds to the Hamas terror organization. “This is one of those areas that got me ticked off in regard to the fairness of the media,” Colbeck told the audience on May 10. “They pitched this comment around my concern about the Muslim Brotherhood as a concern about Muslims in general. I love Muslims. It’s not an issue. The issue is about terrorist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Sayed apparently lost his customary cool and berated Colbeck as a racist and condemned Republicans for not condemning Colbeck. “What frustrates me more is not that you have blatant racism on the part of certain people, but what frustrates me more is in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, is not when bad people speak out but when good people fail to speak out, and what I have not heard is the Republicans on this panel, decisively and swiftly call out this kind of Islamophobia, this kind of racism, in the context that they are wanting to represent the state that has the highest per-capita number of Muslim Americans in the country. Now you may not hate Muslims, but I’ll tell you, Muslims definitely hate you!”