Euless City Council Candidate Questioned Over his Muslim Faith

A city council race in Euless is getting heated not just for debate over the issues, but because of one candidate's religion.

District 6 candidate Salman Bhojani says he's had people at the polls ask him what religion he is and then tell him they would never vote for a Muslim.

Then on Monday, his own state representative wrote a Facebook post referencing his religion. NBC 5 tracked down both sides of the story.

"I want to make sure I can bring diverse perspectives to the city council," Salman Bhojani said.

But he believes critics are using that diversity against him.

State Representative Jonathan Stickland wrote a Facebook post referencing Bhojani's religion. In it, he speaks against "progressive liberals" stepping into a non-partisan council race and points out that Salman Bhojani is a Muslim and what he calls a "lifelong Democrat" responsible for having a passage from the Koran read for the first time at a council meeting. The passage referenced having an openness to different religions and was read by a local Boy Scout troop.

"I don't think that by itself is something that means he's unfit for office,” said Rep. Stickland. “But what I think is this is just a foreshadowing of some of the massive changes that he would like to see in the city of Euless."

Representative Stickland points to Bhojani's own speeches calling for diversity on the council.

"He can't have it both ways,” Stickland said. “If he wants to use it as a plus, he has to be OK with other people thinking it's a relevant issue as well."

"I think that's totally inaccurate. I have not brought my religion public," Bhojani countered. "He should have come and asked me about my beliefs because I'm also one of his constituents."

Bhojani said religion would never influence his council decisions but he does want a fresh perspective. He would be the council's only minority.

"Any time you have a homogenous group of people who came together and make decisions for people who are not like them I think you can be blindsided by your own tunnel vision," Bhojani said.

In his Facebook post, Representative Stickland also references campaign finance violations. Bhojani told NBC 5 he received one contribution from a Canadian citizen and that as soon as he recognized the error, he returned the money and reported the problem himself to local, state and federal officials.

He also notes that he is not a “lifelong Democrat” as Stickland claimed and wants to keep the election party-neutral.

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