Starrett mailer brings protests from Muslims, DesJarlais

A Grant Starrett campaign mailer attacking U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais is offensive to Muslims, said an Islamic Center of Murfreesboro spokesman tells the Daily News Journal.

“It is racist,” said Saleh Sbenaty, the chairman of the ICM’s Outreach Committee. “People do not support racists or candidates who want to drive a wedge in our community. People will support candidates who build bridges and unite communities.”

The mailer in question depicts the Republican congressman holding what appears to be a driver’s license with the words: “Illegal immigrant identification cards funded by taxpayer dollars.” The card includes the name “Yusuf Jalil” and has a picture of a man wearing a keffiyeh (a Middle Eastern-style scarf) covering all but his eyes.

The mailer describes DesJarlais as having “dangerous priorities” because he “supports funding ID cards for illegal immigrants” and “votes against funding for our troops fighting ISIS.”

…Starrett stands by his mailer.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we are at war with radical Islam,” Starrett said in a statement emailed to The Daily News Journal. “Only politically correct cowards refuse to say so. We need to name our enemy, and engage them not only in a battle of arms, but a battle of ideas. Plenty of radical Muslims have been homegrown terrorists whether in Chattanooga, Orlando or Boston.

“Scott DesJarlais is the one who needs to respond as to why he proposes giving amnesty ID cards to illegal immigrants who may have ties to radical Muslim terrorism. I want to militarize the border and fully fund our military in this age of terrorism. Congressman DesJarlais should also respond as to why he voted for hundreds of millions of dollars in Obama’s military cuts.”

…DesJarlais campaign spokesman Robert Jameson offered the following response about the mailer from Starrett:

“Tennessee voters know better than to believe anything from Grant Starrett, the lying Californian. When Grant loses in August, I would encourage him to apply for an internship in Congressman DesJarlais’ office. That will give him an opportunity to work for a proven conservative leader.