EULESS (CBSDFW.COM) – Religion has become a campaign issue in one Euless city council race.
Salman Bhojani, a candidate for council Place 6, said he’s been subjected to ugly attacks at the polls over his Muslim faith.
“They said, ‘Because you’re a Muslim. We don’t vote for terrorists,” he recounted.
He says his opponent Molly Maddux introduced religion into the race with a flier labeling him a Muslim and herself a Christian.
Maddux told CBS11, though, she’s simply stating facts.
“Our faith determines our values, and our values are very important on how we vote,” she said.
Maddux said she wants to keep her campaign positive.
She said everyone she’s seen at the polls, including members of Bhojani’s campaign, has been courteous, but said she would not support any hateful comments.
“I don’t condone that at all, but I haven’t seen it happen,” she said.
While at the polls, a CBS11 camera did capture one interaction between Bhojani and a pair of voters.
“Your supporters fly the flag…” one man told him.
“What’s wrong with that?” Bhojani interrupted him.
“Flying the flag upside down?” said a second man.
“Am I? No. I’m not doing that,” responded Bhojani.
While Maddux said she wouldn’t criticize her opponent, one prominent supporter of her candidacy, state representative Jonathan Stickland has openly done so on his Facebook page, calling Bhojani “a dangerous man”… “a Muslim, lawyer, and a lifelong Democrat.”
He told CBS11 over the phone it was Bhojani who introduced religion and diversity as a campaign issue, while saying he would be blasted if he asked for votes because he was a “white, Christian.”
In one video Rep Stickland referenced, Bhojani does not mention religion in addressing what appears to be a predominantly South Asian crowd, but he does address his desire to see a minority presence on city council.
“There’s no representation for the Pali community right now on city council. In fact, there’s no Desi representation on city council. There’s no African-American representation on city council. There are no Hispanics,” he said referencing various minorities including South Indians and Indians in general.
Bhojani told CBS11 city council should be more representative of the population it represents, which is now predominantly made up of minorities.
Rep Stickland also accused Bhojani of accepting money from a foreign national. Bhojani says he received a $500 donation from a Canadian citizen, which he refunded once he learned it violated campaign finance law.