A Muslim immigrant winning an election in Trump’s America, where he’s made anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigotry a cornerstone of his campaign, is truly inspiring—especially in a red state like Texas. While Bhojani was subject to anti-Muslim attacks during the campaign, his win truly represents a victory of American values over Trump’s un-American views.
But this wasn’t an easy win for Bhojani, who possesses all the qualifications of someone who should easily win a local race. He’s a Boy Scout leader, a family man, has served on the city’s parks board for four years and is a lawyer practicing in the area. If he were Christian and white, I bet the GOP would’ve loved to recruit Bhojani.
But he’s not. Bhojani is a brown, Muslim Pakistani immigrant who came to America in 1999. And while the election was non-partisan, that didn’t stop a Republican state representative—who was not even a candidate in the race—from trying to gin up anti-Muslim animus. So there was Texas representative and Trump wannabe Jonathan Stickland doing his best to scare local voters about the dangers of a Muslim American seeking elected office.
Stickland, a Tea Party darling (but of course!), warned in a Facebook post that Bhojani was a Muslim, adding that “His ideas for our community would scare a majority of our residents but he’s very sneaky in how he presents himself.” (Interestingly, Stickland uses “sneaky” which historically had been used to smear Jews but now is also used to demonize Muslims.) Stickland warned that if elected, Bhojani would make "massive changes" to their mid-size city, clearly playing on fears of changing demographics and anti-Muslim sentiment.