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Bernie Sanders embraces Islamophobia victim: 'We must stand together'

Remaz Abdelgader asked Sanders about Islamophobia in US politics [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 November, 2015

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Blog: US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders spoke on a public stage with an American Muslim student about her experiences of politicians' "divide-and-conquer" tactics.
Bernie Sanders, the US senator from Vermont and left-leaning presidential candidate, invited an American Muslim student on stage during a speech at Fairfax, Virginia, last week after she posed a question about growing Islamophobia in US politics.

Sanders spoke with Remaz Abdelgader, a student at George Mason University, who referred to anti-Muslim statements made by Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson and Donald Trump.

The 74-year-old Democratic Socialist gestured for the young student to join him on stage, and hugged her as she arrived, after which she finished posing her question.

"As an American Muslim student who aspires to change the world - currently majoring in international conflict analysis and resolution - and I hope to be a human rights attorney - hearing the rhetoric that's going on in the media makes me sick," said Abdelgader, while the crowd cheered.

"I'm constantly trying to raise awareness and make sure that everyone is treated equally in this country. As the next president of the United States, what do you think about that?"

The candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nominee said that, for many years, Washington's politicians had attempted to pit various groups against each other, all while "the rich got richer".

"You are right, there is an anger and hatred being generated against Muslims in this country - that's absolutely correct," Sanders said.

"If we stand for anything, we have got to stand together and end all forms of racism, and I will lead that effort as president of the United States," he added.

American Muslims have been complaining of increasing Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric by US politicians and media figures, which appears to have emboldened far-right extremists.

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