George Latimer Sold Muslims Out To MAGA – I Helped Elect George Latimer, Now He Is Endangering My Community By Farah Kathwari

Date:

My parents immigrated to the US in the 1960s and have been fortunate to truly live the
American dream. They raised me to be a proud American and to uphold the values of liberty and
justice for all. As a family we have had the opportunity to give back to our community and
support access to healthcare, education, the arts, and more. We are patriotic American
Muslims.

When Donald Trump became President, I felt insecure as an American Muslim for the first time
in my life. Trump had campaigned on a hateful platform – scapegoating immigrants, Mexicans,
Muslims, and many others. He said that all Muslims are possible terrorists, and since we cannot
tell the good Muslims from the bad, let’s ban all of them. Islamophobia, like anti-semitism,
increased in Westchester and across the country after Trump was elected.

I was angry and refused to let my country be taken over by extremists. I joined the resistance to
the Trump agenda and got involved with grassroots activists in Westchester. We focused on
local elections, raising awareness, protesting, getting out the vote, and advocating for justice
and equality for all. We galvanized Westchester Muslims to campaign for George Latimer in our
effort to oust the sitting pro-Trump County Executive. Latimer’s campaign was a huge success,
thanks in large part to the progressive activists throughout Westchester.

I was proud to serve on Latimer’s transition team, and then as Board Member of the
Westchester County Human Rights Commission. I have also been an active member of Human
Rights Watch’s NY Committee for the last 14 years, and served as Board Member for both
Refugees International and the Stimson Center. But today, I see he is not who we thought he
was.

This election year, we face many challenges, especially from the radical right wing in our
country, which seeks to restrict the rights of all women and of most minorities. This is the time
for progressives to be united. Latimer’s run for Congress is unnecessary and a distraction from
this goal. We have a progressive, proactive, successful incumbent congressman: Jamaal
Bowman.

In two terms, Jamaal Bowman has grown from a promising progressive champion, to one of
Congress’ most proven progressive leaders. It’s not just that he beat the NRA to ban “ghost
guns” nationwide and secured over $1 billion in funding for our district. It’s that he is unafraid to
speak out against Islamophobia, anti-semitism, racism, sexism, homophobia and any form of
bigotry. It is a rare leader who has the moral courage to stand for peace even knowing it will
invite a $20 million dollar primary against him..

All this makes the fact that AIPAC specifically recruited and funded Latimer to challenge
Bowman all the more upsetting to me. AIPAC is funded by right wing Republican extremists who
would like nothing better than to stack the US Congress with ‘bought-and-paid-for’ members
who can help them turn our country backwards.

Latimer’s campaign is using right wing tactics; promoting Islamophobia and tarnishing
Bowman’s image by labeling him a terrorist sympathizer who gets money from “Hamas
supporters” because Bowman calls for a ceasefire and return of hostages on both sides, for a
free Palestine alongside a free Israel.

In fact, I have seen that in Westchester County, people – of any race or religion – who express
sympathy for the loss of civilian (mostly Muslim) lives in Gaza are promptly labeled ‘Hamas
supporters’ or ‘terrorist sympathizers’. I have personally heard from local Muslim children who
have been called ‘terrorists’ in school simply because they acknowledged the suffering of
Palestinians on social media. This is Islamophobia, anti Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice, and it is
extremely offensive and totally unacceptable. Conflating all Muslims with terrorism is a
horrifying and demeaning trope that makes Muslims, and those who “look Muslim,” susceptible
to dangerous and often violent attacks. Islamophobia, like anti-semitism, has no place in
Westchester County, NY State or the United States of America.

The way I see it, you can either consider yourself a progressive Democrat who is fighting for
equality for all, to keep special interest money out of Washington and to make our Congress
more just, or, you can vote for Latimer. You just can’t do both.

Farah Kathwari is a Westchester County Human Rights Commission board member, and former
member of the George Latimer Transition Team.

AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief and co-owner of Black Westchester, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Rap Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

1 COMMENT

  1. Jamaal Bowman is an anti semantic bigot and has used foul language in many rallies. Jamal is the worst example of a decent honest person who does not deserve to hold public office in the USA. HAMAS is the elected official government of Gaza and has to be destroyed.
    The Gaza people unfortunately are reaping what they planted. They. Cheered 9/11 and 10/7 passed out candy and celebrated. Sorry but I feel sorry for the Gaza people but it is a necessity to destroy Hamas now

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