Muslim politician responds to constituent’s hateful tweets by paying his medical bills

24th Mar 2020
Muslim politician responds to constituent’s hateful tweets by paying his medical bills

Photo: Qasim Rashid and Oscar Dillon (Credit: courtesy of Qasim Rashid)

Nadine Osman

A Muslim political candidate responded to a constituent’s hateful tweets by helping to pay the man’s medical bills.

Qasim Rashid, a Pakistani immigrant, a Democrat running for Congress in Virginia, also encouraged his 290,400 followers to donate to Oscar Dillon’s medical campaign.
Rashid shared a photo of him and Dillon in a Facebook post and on March 9, writing, ‘Today I met my new friend Oz.’

Dillon sent Rashid anti-Muslim tweets earlier in the month, which included a memo that falsely claimed that Islam promoted violent acts, such as rapes and beheadings.

The 66-year-old of Fredericksburg said in a GoFundMe campaign he launched on February 12, that his retirement savings were depleted. He said that because of the rising costs of his and his wife’s medical care and because his annual income is about $38,000 a year, the couple are ‘broke’ by the 23rd of each month.

The couple have debt from his wife’s treatment for a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, and their home needs updates to make it handicapped-accessible for her.
Rashid said on social media that he later received a ‘thoughtful’ and ‘compassionate’ apology from Dillon, who also asked that the aspiring lawmaker visit him, which he did.

Rashid said in his social media posts that when he learned of Dillon’s difficulties, he donated to help cover the couple’s ‘crushing medical debt.’ ‘My faith instead teaches me to serve all humanity,’ Rashid wrote in a tweet, adding that he donated $55 to Dillon’s campaign.

Speaking to The Muslim News Rashid said, “My faith instructs me to serve all humanity and to help those around me. When I took a look at Oz’s page and saw that he and his family were struggling with insurmountable medical debt, I realized that I had to do something to help him.”

He added, “I’m a strong believer in compassion through action, and helping Oz, regardless of the messages that he’d sent to me, aligns with my values. I also have a modest following on social media, so I shared Oz’s GoFundMe with my followers as well, and they responded in kind.”

Dillon said he’d been humbled by Rashid’s response. He told NBC News: ‘What this has done is reopen my eyes. ‘9/11 was a tragic time for me and my family.’
‘This has reopened my eyes to pre-9/11, where I would look at each individual as a person. ‘He has showed me that there is good in all walks of life.’

The GoFundMe had raised the full $26,237 goal with many of the donations are labelled ‘Inspired by Qasim Rashid.’

 

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