Dr. Mohammad Ali Bhuiyan is a Muslim, a member of the Republican party – the political party of U.S. President Donald Trump – and he's running for Congress in the state of Georgia.
If he's elected in a special election next week, Dr. Bhuiyan will become the first-ever Muslim Republican congressman in the U.S., and only the third-ever Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress.
But just because he's allied with Trump's political party, that doesn't spare him from facing Islamophobic questions.
In a recent debate, a reporter told Bhuiyan that "some people are, frankly, uncomfortable with the notion of a Muslim in office." She then asked if he has, "publicly denounced terror attacks committed by Muslims?"
Dr. Bhuiyan responded in the best way possible
Dr. Bhuiyan's response was perfect and totally on point. First, he clarified that he was competing against an Orthodox Jew, Baptist Christians and candidates from other religions.
"None of the other religions are mentioned but I get this question all the time," he said.
"I lived [here] for 30 years, I’ve been vetted multiple times: when I became resident, citizen, global card, entry card. The question, I denounce any forms of violence or extremism anywhere in the world, here, anywhere, by anybody, not just one religion—any religion."
He went on to lay out the double standard in the West, saying that when a Christian commits a terrorist act, people never say all Christians are terrorists.
A "few Muslim bad apples" do not make all Muslims terrorists, Dr. Bhuiyan explained.
Other candidates in the race have faced Islamophobic attacks
Jon Ossoff, a Democrat running against Dr. Bhuiyan and 16 other candidates in the race, isn't a Muslim but he has produced films for Al Jazeera, which is owned by Qatar.
Republican competitor Bob Gray jumped on this and tried to use it as a campaign smear. An ad attacking Ossoff included the words: "HE EVEN WORKED FOR AL JAZEERA," flashing across the screen.
Ossoff responded, saying he "condemns partisan attacks that appeal to fear and stands by his work as a journalist and businessman," in an official statement, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The statement said that his "company has produced films and video content for multiple clients and news organizations around the world, including Al Jazeera." Company productions have also "appeared on or have been acquired by the BBC (UK), RTL (Netherlands), DR (Denmark), TVN (Poland), SVT (Sweden), and TIM (Italy)."
Dr. Bhuiyan is a testament against Islamophobia and xenophobia in a number of ways
Not only is Dr. Bhuiyan a Muslim, he is also an immigrant.
He immigrated to the U.S. from Bangladesh as a graduate student in 1986 and attended Georgia State University. He and his wife became citizens of the country in 2000.
Described as a husband, father, homeowner, small business owner, academic administrator, professor, and economist, he has been living in Cobb County Georgia for 16 years, according to a press release.
Announcing his campaign in January, he highlighted his Muslim beliefs.
In a press statement, his campaign called him a man of "deep personal faith and family values, he believes in one God and as a Muslim he believes in Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad (peace be upon them) who are parts and lineage of the great prophet Abraham."