The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA) along with local Muslim and Jewish organizations today condemned San Ramon mayoral candidate, Sanat Sethy’s, Islamophobia and fear-mongering rhetoric.

In a statement he released last week, Sanat Sethy noted that he would not participate in a candidate forum hosted on September 30, by CAIR-SFBA, the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center (SRVIC), and the Muslim Community Center of the East Bay (MCC).

The forum focused on local issues, connected Muslims in the region to the various candidates vying for their votes, and was one of a series of more than half a dozen the organization is hosting in the lead up to the November 3 election. Sethy chose to forego the opportunity to connect with voters deflecting from his unwillingness to do so by attempting to pit Muslims and Jews against each other by raising false allegations of anti-Semitism and claiming the debate and CAIR’s work were exclusively national in focus.

Aliza Kazmi, Advocacy Manager at CAIR-SFBA said in a statement:

“CAIR-SFBA takes pride in our local civic engagement efforts. While national politics can be disheartening, we encourage American Muslims to prioritize local races. The mayoral race in San Ramon, home to one of the region’s largest Muslim congregations and a sizeable Muslim population is an important one. Sanat Sethy made his intent to divide voters based on bigotry very clear and in doing so missed out an opportunity to pitch his platform and positions.”

Imad Abboushi, President of the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center said in a statement:

“Community leaders need to support all of their constituents. It is quite disappointing to see a mayoral candidate ignore the needs of a minority group in his community.”

Jewish Voice for Peace – Bay Area Chapter said in a statement:

“We stand with CAIR in condemning Sethy’s actions. CAIR-SFBA has been an invaluable partner in the Muslim community in supporting Jews against rising antisemitism. Unsubstantiated claims of antisemitism are often used against groups that stand in support of Palestinian human rights, especially against Muslim organizations.”

Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director of ICCCC said in a statement:

“It’s very troubling when candidates refuse to participate in a candidate forum. It’s even more troubling when it is based on lies about one of the co-sponsors. CAIR is a leading Muslim organization, and SRVIC is one of our member Masjids. Candidates should strive to reach all potential voters and this was unbecoming of someone vying for our votes.”