With the recent ISIS attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, fear of radical Muslim terrorism is at a height not seen since the 9/11 attacks. This being an election year, it’s become a strong topic for candidates. Most notably, Donald Trump has run on an extreme position of keeping Muslims out of the country, which has won him support with enough conservatives to make him the leading Republican candidate.
The fallout is resonating through the election season, evidenced by Jesse Sbaih claiming that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid told him not to run due to his Muslin faith. The concern is that Sbaih could not win due to this factor, and the Democrats felt a different candidate could pick up the seat for the party.
For his part, Reid’s spokesperson admitted that Reid cautioned Sbaih that he could not win, but claims it had nothing to do with his religion. Reid had encouraged Sbaih to run for a lesser office, which was not taken well. Sbaih explained, “I objected to that because I have every right as an American to run for the office that I think I can do the best job at. We wanted to give back to this amazing nation that's given us so much.”
It is hard to tell what the truth is, considering that both individuals involved have different versions of the story. Regardless, it’s apparent that there are biases against Muslims that would make getting elected to higher offices an issue moving forward. Sbaih is running, and we will see if this factor gets in the way of his electability.