A few days after Donald Trump looked on and made faces as a peaceful Muslim woman was heckled out of one of his campaign rallies, it’s worth recalling how Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders responded to a Muslim student who questioned him about racism and Islamophobia at a rally at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., in late October.

Before 1,700 of her peers, Remaz Abdelgader began, “As a Muslim student, as an American Muslim student who aspires to change this world—.” She then paused as the senator motioned her to the stage and hugged her. Returning to her question, she asked him to comment on the bigotry and racism heard and seen in the Republican presidential campaigns and the media.

“Let me be very personal here, if I might,” Sanders responded. “I’m Jewish. My father’s family died in concentration camps. I will do everything that I can to rid this country of the ugly stain of racism which has existed for far too many years.

“Our job is to build a nation in which we all stand together as one people,” he continued. “And you are right. There is a lot of anger being generated, hatred being generated against Muslims in this country. That’s absolutely correct. There is hatred being generated against immigrants in this country, and if we stand for anything we’ve got to stand together and end all forms of racism and I will lead that effort as president of the United States.”

It’s worth noting that Sen. Sanders’ favorability appears to be rising in Iowa, where voters will help decide the Democratic presidential candidate in just a few weeks. An NBC News poll released Jan. 10 showed Sanders just 3 points behind Hillary Clinton among likely caucus-goers, at 45 percent versus Clinton’s 48 percent.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig