Elections

Idaho House candidate uses Muslim slur, says Facebook posts ‘trigger debate’ on politics

A Boise Republican legislative candidate wrote he was “happy to delete another American hating muzzie” July 27 as he posted a photo of another Idahoan he apparently blocked on his personal Facebook page.

“Of course he lives here and benefits from our great nations’ (sic) tax benefits,” Kevin Rhoades wrote about the man. “But he hates people like you. His book teaches him to.”

Rhoades is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Sue Chew in District 17. The post with the Muslim slur was on his public Facebook page — though he later deleted it after a Statesman query, writing, “Apparently my last post was a bit too much for the socialist left.”

Rhoades, a former MMA cage fighter, told the Statesman via email he does not run from negative issues, and his statement does not walk back his use of the term “muzzie.”

He said he is new to politics and hasn’t learned how to “tailor every Facebook post in a way to not offend a single person.” He then said his approach to social media is intentional: “I like to throw out incendiary comments and I use bombastic metaphors on my personal page because it helps trigger debate on political issues that I care about.”

After 23 years of living and working in a predominantly Muslim country, Nick and Laura Armstrong returned to Boise — and were startled by Americans’ animosity toward Muslims because it was so contradictory to their experience in Indonesia. They st

Rhoades also invoked the events of 9/11, saying he wants to ensure safe immigration and security in the United States while also trying “to guarantee that thousands more Americans aren’t murdered by fundamentalist Muslim terrorists.”

“In the meantime, I’m just trying to focus on making Idaho a better place for everyone,” he stated in his email.

Said Ahmed-Zaid, a spokesperson for the Islamic Center of Boise, told the Statesman in an email he considers Rhoades’ post offensive.

“I do not know Kevin Rhoades personally, but I question his judgment and character after posting derogatory and pejorative comments about Muslims,” he wrote. “If I were living in District 17B, I would certainly not vote for someone who does not reflect the values of the constituencies in that neighborhood.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement Friday afternoon that the Idaho Republican Party should “repudiate” Rhoades’ post.

Efforts to reach Chew were unsuccessful.

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