Democrats love to bask in their own glory of being the “party of inclusiveness,” bringing together the rainbow of different colors and creeds from sea to shining sea under one politically categorized roof. It looks good when photos are staged to appear as idealistic as possible and campaign stump speeches that are tailored to pander to whomever the candidate is in front of at that moment. Though, Democratic candidates aren’t always full of smiles, hand shaking, and baby kissing.
A few weeks ago, Jeff Dove, the Republican nominee for the 11th Congressional District, was invited to attend a Friday night religious service at the Dar-Al-Noor Mosque and community center in Manassas, Virginia. The mosque, which serves the Eastern Prince William County Muslim community, invited all candidates running in the area, including Dove’s opponent, Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly (VA-11).
According to campaign staff, Dove arrived at the mosque and was speaking with multiple members of the community, discussing the issues most dear to them. When a representative from Connolly’s campaign arrived, they were “openly shocked” to see Dove in attendance.
Connolly seems to believe he his unchallenged this midterm election, preferring to only send a staffer to an important community event, as Connolly must have other, more important campaign business to tend to. However, after a quick phone call from the staffer after their arrival, the Congressman showed up at the mosque.
But, Connolly refused to enter the building while Dove was attending the service.
Reportedly, Connolly reprimanded members of the Dar-Al-Noor staff about inviting candidates are not exclusively Connolly himself. Due to this seemingly “Islamophobic behavior,” Dove said the incident was, “appalling, un-American, and disgraceful, especially for a sitting Representative,” in a statement.
“As an American and a Christian, religious freedom and respect for freedom of assembly and worship are critical parts of my personal ethos,” Dove said. “Not wanting to debate me is understandable, as he has very few substantial accomplishments to show constituents.”
Dove went on to say, “But refusing to join me under one roof to show respect for a local religious community shows what little regard Rep. Connolly has not only for civil discourse, but also the Prince William Muslim community.”
There has been a history with Connolly refusing to pose for a photo with Dove, even with local media. It has also now gone as far as the congressman refusing to even be under the same roof with him.
It’s unclear if Connolly is afraid of civil discourse, minority candidates, or his own district’s Muslim community. Whatever is issue is, it needs to be answered to explain this behavior that is unquestionably beneath a public official.