CONCORD – An American Muslim civil rights group has condemned a campaign flyer targeting US Senate Maggie Hassan over her Muslim-sounding name, saying it falsely associates Muslims with violence and spreads hatred in the community.
“The mailing intentionally invokes the specter of terrorism and associates Muslims with violence against civilians in a clear attempt to sway voters using Islamophobia,” John Robbins, director of the Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told AP.
“This group is obviously exploiting both the candidate’s Arab and Muslim-sounding name and the growing Islamophobic sentiment in our nation.”
The flier sent by the advocacy group One Nation shows a family in a weapon’s crosshairs and highlights Hassan’s support of last year’s deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.
It reads: “Radical Islamic terrorists are knocking at our door … and Maggie Hassan’s bad judgment could put our families at risk.”
Hassan, a Democrat currently serving as New Hampshire’s governor, is in a tight Senate race with Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte that could help decide control of the US Senate.
Her last name, which has Irish roots, is pronounced HAS’-uhn, but is sometimes mispronounced as hah-SAHN’.
Hassan’s spokeswoman, Meira Bernstein, called the flier “another reprehensible and baseless attack from Kelly Ayotte’s corporate special interest backers.”
“Ayotte’s allies should be ashamed of themselves,” she said.