Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 28 September 2020

US Republican candidate apologises for offending Muslims on social media

Ted Howze denies writing posts slandering Islam

Ted Howze is a Republican candidate for the US house of representatives. AFP
Ted Howze is a Republican candidate for the US house of representatives. AFP

A Republican candidate running in one of California’s heated House races said he would apologise for any offence caused by now-deleted Facebook and Twitter posts that appeared on his account, and which he claims were written by others.

Ted Howze, a Republican candidate for California’s 10th district, “would certainly apologise to anyone offended by these actions undertaken by others", his campaign told The National.

An investigation by Politico this week revealed that posts insulting Islam and using offensive language against immigrants were hurriedly taken down from his Facebook account.

The news site reported that Mr Howze has deleted several posts from between January 2017 and March 2018 that slandered Muslims, Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

One post from April 2017 read: “European leaders are wilfully ceding their continent to religious extremists ..." which was followed by extremely offensive references to the Prophet Mohammed.

Other posts attacked immigrants, disparaged a Muslim-American activist, floated conspiracy theories about former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and made fun of David Hogg, who survived a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton was also targeted in the posts. AP
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton was also targeted in the posts. AP

Mr Howze told The National that these are abhorrent posts and denied that he had written them, claiming someone else had obtained his password years ago.

"These are disgusting and I absolutely disagree with the negative and ugly ideas," he said.

"I learnt the very hard lesson to never allow anyone access to accounts or passwords.

"I made the mistake of allowing others access to my accounts unknowingly. And I am angered, horrified and extremely offended.”

The candidate, who has native American ancestry, said the posts “do not represent who I am, now or ever".

Mohamed Rashid, a Muslim constituent and friend of the Howze family, described the candidate as respectful.

"I have known Ted and his family for over eight years," Mr Rashid said. "They are awesome people, very caring and respectful people."

The news of these posts, however, have triggered condemnations on social media.

Mr Hogg described Mr Howze as a hateful figure.

"It's sad when people running for office like Ted Howze have so much hate in their heart for the people they claim to want serve," Mr Hogg tweeted.

"Public service is an act of love even for those you don't agree with because you represent them too."

Mr Howze is challenging Democrat Josh Harder for the seat in the November 3 election.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced candidates to resort to virtual campaigning because of continued lockdowns and movement restrictions across the US.

President Donald Trump, who is seeking re-election, held his last rally in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 2.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden has been holding “virtual town halls” from his basement in Delaware.

The party conventions scheduled for August to officially nominate Mr Trump and Mr Biden are uncertain, and could be held online.

Recent polls have shown a bump for Democrats in the battle for the presidency and the Senate, but with the election almost six months away the momentum could shift back and forth before the vote.

The Biden campaign has started its search for a vice presidential candidate, and he pledged in March that it would be a woman.

His former campaign rivals, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar, are reportedly on the shortlist for the position.

With them are Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and the first Latina senator from Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto.

Updated: May 8, 2020 01:14 AM

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