Republican candidate's e-mail sets off bigotry claims

State rep’s use of words in political campaign is innapropriate, civil rights group argue.

COLUMBUS — Charges of religious bigotry are surfacing in the state treasurer’s race after Republican Josh Mandel sent out a fund-raising e-mail that used the word “mosque” three times when talking about his opponent’s deputy treasurer, Amer Ahmad.

“This is just the latest example of the Republican party’s gross exploitation of Islamophobia to advance their own campaigns,” said Edina Lekovic, spokeswoman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

A spokeswoman for the Anti Defamation League said, “...appeals by candidates based on religion affiliation have no place in political campaigns.”

Mandel, a state representative and Iraq war veteran, is running against Treasurer Kevin Boyce, a Democrat.

Mandel’s letter details gaffes by Boyce’s administration, including personal connections a bank lobbyist Noure Alo has to Ahmad and the hiring of Alo’s wife as a secretary in the treasurer’s office.

Alo and his wife are friends of Ahmad and they attend the same mosque.

“We deserve public officials who use tax dollars to hire people because they are qualified – not because they belong to their comrade’s Mosque,” Mandel wrote to potential campaign donors.

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