Massachusetts Muslims Fire Back at Tim Cahill
Muslim leaders in Massachusetts fired back Friday at gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill, who they accused of making “bigoted” statements after Gov. Deval Patrick met with members of the Muslim community.
In a statement, a coalition of Muslim leaders called Cahill’s remarks “bigoted ... undignified” and “anti-democratic,” and said the governor has a right to meet with members of all religious backgrounds.
Last weekend, Patrick met with around 1,000 Massachusetts Muslim leaders who wanted to raise awareness about their faith and become more civically engaged.
“I fully support equal protection under the law for every American, regardless of race or creed, but this is political correctness run amok,” Cahill said after Patrick met with Muslim leaders.
Noting two Muslim Americans recently were arrested in Massachusetts in connection with the probe of the attempted Times Square bombing, Cahill added: “Gov. Patrick should stop playing politics with terrorism and focus on protecting all the citizens of this commonwealth.”
Cahill is the state Treasurer and former Democrat who has launched an independent campaign for governor.
“He is our governor and he has a right to meet with any religious organization,” said Kemal Bozkurt, publisher of the Lawrence-based Muslim Green Pages of New England, a directory of Muslim-owned businesses.
Bozkurt said if Cahill has any evidence that a mosque or Massachusetts Muslim group has terrorist ties he should turn it over to Attorney General Martha Coakley instead of stereotyping. “Those comments are unacceptable,” Bozkurt said. “Muslims must take action and not vote for a candidate like this.”
Sufia Hassan, a female leader and educator at the Mosque for the Praising of Allah in Boston, said remarks like those from politicians only give cover for some to “go after” Muslims.
“I feel as if myself and my children are being attacked,” said Hassan. “I was very offended.”
Hassan said Muslim Americans in Massachusetts would be worried if Cahill were elected governor but would still be open to working with him.
Muslim leaders joined with Christian and Jewish leaders at a news conference Friday to further condemn Cahill, who is trailing Patrick and Republican candidate Charlie Baker in the polls.
Cahill defended his comments late Friday, saying that his criticism was not directed at the Muslim-American community or at Gov. Patrick for attending a meeting with their leaders.
“It was about the lack of leadership Gov. Patrick has shown in combating the threat of terrorism,” Cahill said. “The Governor missed an opportunity throughout this entire process to have an important conversation about coming together to combat terrorism.”
“Instead the Governor turned it into a conversation about sensitivity training for police,” Cahill said in a statement. “That is simply not an adequate response to the threat that we face. That is not leadership.”