Muslim Political Candidate Responds to Islamophobic Tweet With an Act of Compassion13 Mar 2020
Qasim Rashid, running for a seat in the U.S. Congress, helped pay the medical debts of a man who had previously posted anti-Muslim tweets aimed at his campaign, sparking an unlikely friendship and inspiring others to donate as well.
“We do not need you in our nation. Let alone any seat of office above street sweeper.” This was the initial tweet of 66-year-old Oscar Dillon, a resident of Fredericksburg, Virginia, also a stark supporter of Donald Trump and constituent of Qasim Rashid. He was not expecting the response he got.
Rashid replied to his tweet by saying that despite Dillon’s “deeply hurtful” comments, he would donate to his GoFundMe campaign to help his family cover their “crushing medical bills.” He then encouraged his followers to do the same.
Before the interaction, Dillon’s GoFundMe had raised only $1000. It has now reached over $20,000. The Democratic candidate commented that his faith “teaches to serve all humanity.”
This act of kindness then inspired Dillon to reach out to Rashid in an apology and asked the candidate to visit him. His GoFundMe was created to raise funds for his wife’s medical bills, amidst a low-income job and a depletion of his retirement savings, and to also finance home improvements with better disabled access. In the past month, Dillon has sent other abusive messages to politicians via Twitter, calling Jewish politician Adam Schiff a Nazi and calling Elizabeth Warren a “lying hag.” It was Rashid’s powerful actions however, that caused a change of heart for the Virginia resident.
He has since commented that he was “humbled beyond belief at what Mr. Rashid did for my cause in overcoming our debt.”
“There is no amount of words that I can say that will properly thank each and every one of you, who have blessed me and my family, with your Prayers, Kind words and Donations,” Dillon told reporters.
Qasim Rashid, a Pakistani immigrant who moved to the U.S. in 1987, has a history of promoting the Muslim cause for compassion and peace. His outreach efforts in the American Midwest have been effective in promoting tolerance for minorities and he also took a role in the “Muslim’s for Peace” campaign back in 2010.
His 2016 book Talk To Me promotes a dialogue between peoples of all faiths, genders and ages in order to come to a more tolerant and peaceful society. It seems that this specific interaction with Oscar Dillon was no perversion from this outlook.
Like many in the United States, Dillon’s perspective on Muslims was negatively shaped by the events of 9/11, which placed damaging stereotypes on the Muslim community. However, as his interaction with Rashid has shown, racism and islamophobia can be defeated when we turn towards truth and goodwill.
Dillon further commented that Qasim has “showed me that there is good in all walks of life.”