Washington, DC – Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of The Interfaith Alliance released the following statement in response to reports that Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign circulated a photograph of Senator Barack Obama in traditional Somali dress:

If it is true that this photo was circulated by the Clinton campaign, then they should be ashamed of themselves, and Senator Clinton should apologize. This incident is the latest example of presidential candidates using religion to divide this nation rather than to unite it. Senator Obama is not a Muslim and never has been; but even if he were, it should not matter. Candidates should be judged on their merits, not on what house of worship they attend.

The circulation of this photo is clearly not aimed at promoting better interfaith relations, and it has the broader impact of marginalizing the Muslim community as a whole. It is a modern day scare tactic in the tradition of the Willie Horton ad.

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.