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Muslims cannot win congressional elections says Democrat

The Jordanian-American was told his religion and ethnicity would prevent him from winning [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 March, 2016

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A Democrat running for the US congress was told his Muslim religion and Arab ethnicity would preclude him from winning a seat, it has been alleged.
A US Democrat was told not to run for congress because he is a Muslim, it has emerged.

Jesse Sbaih claims his fellow Nevada Democrat discouraged him from the candidacy in a meeting between the two at a Las Vegas casino last August.

"To be blunt," Harry Reid allegedly said, "a Muslim cannot win this race."

The 40-year-old native Jordanian lawyer asserts he had requested the meeting to seek support from the senior politician but was left disheartened when he received the comments.

"I did not feel that this was an issue," Sbaih told The Washington Post. "They made it an issue. My campaign is about me being an American.

"I just turned 40. Been in this country for 29 years. And it's just absolutely shocking that this occurred."

But the allegations were denied by Reid's spokeswoman, Kristen Orthman who admitted "Reid told him he couldn't win" but added "that had nothing to do with his religion."

"Senator Reid did not say that," said Orthman.

"Jesse Sbaih is a liar and that's why he is going to lose,"The Washington Post reported.

"No one should be precluded the opportunity to serve his or her country based on their religion or ethnicity or any other type of protected class. Broad attempts were made to sabotage our campaign and to drown our voice," Sbaih said in a video posted on Twitter, brandishing a #Diversity hashtag.

The dispute comes amid increasing hostility towards Muslims as Donald Trump continues to spew Islamophobic rhetoric in this year's presidential campaigns.

The Republican front-runner has caused international uproar in recent months as he made remarks towards Muslims who he suggested should be banned from entering the United States, as well as other offensive comments directed at refugees fleeing poverty and war.

A recent British research group warned a Donald Trump presidency is as dangerous to global security as the Islamic State group.

In the latest Global Risk assessment, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked victory for the Republican frontrunner at 12, alongside the threat of the Islamic State group (IS).

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