On Wednesday, the Atlanta Press Club held a debate for all 18 candidates running in a special election in Georgia’s sixth district to fill the seat of former Rep. Tom Price, who stepped down to become Secretary of Health and Human Services.
During the first round, panelist Giovanna Drpic of CBS 46 asked the only Muslim candidate, Dr. Mohammed Ali Bhuiyan, about President Trump’s travel ban targeting Muslims and then demanded to know if the candidate had used the phrase “radical Islam” and “publicly denounced terror attacks committed by Muslims.”
Giovanna Drpic: You’re proud of potentially becoming the first Republican Muslim Congressman in Georgia. Yet, some people are, frankly, uncomfortable with the notion of a Muslim in office. You said that the courts have spoken regarding President Trump’s executive orders regarding immigration, but do you believe that President Trump’s orders represent a quote unquote Muslim ban, have you used the term “radical Islam,” and where have you publicly denounced terror attacks committed by Muslims?
Mohammed Ali Bhuiyan: Well, it’s a very interesting race. As you pointed out, I am a Muslim candidate, Mr. Jon Ossoff is orthodox Jewish candidate, we got Baptists, we got other—all kinds of religion. None of the other religions are mentioned but I get this question all the time. I lived there for 30 years, I’ve been vetted multiple times: when I became resident, citizen, global card, entry card. The question, I denounce any forms of violence or extremism anywhere in the world, here, anywhere, by anybody, not just one religion—any religion. So, the point that everybody should understand that my wife and I we live there for 30 years, we are a model citizen, and almost every religion, every citizen—there are a few bad apples. When Oklahoma bombing took place, Timothy McVeigh, that did not make every Christian terrorist. Similarly, few Muslim bad apples does not make all Muslim terrorists, so that’s the point everybody needs to understand, that this is how everybody should be treated.
Jeff Hullinger, Moderator: Thank you, Mr. Bhuiyan.
Earlier in the debate, Drpic gave other candidates the opportunity to talk about making English the official language of the United States and to defend Trump from accusations that he has made bigotry more acceptable.