SHREWSBURY (CBS) – Police are investigating an anti-Muslim letter targeting a man running for selectman in Shrewsbury.
Rashid Shaikh, a native of Pakistan, says the letter was circulated in mailboxes and online, telling people not to vote for him because he’s Muslim.
The letter warned of dire consequences should a Muslim be allowed “rule” the community, even one with a masters in engineering and an MBA.
“I am proud to be an American and that is how I want to be treated,” Shaikh said.
The naturalized citizen, a 20-year resident of town, was pretty disturbed by what happened just before Election Day.
“They go after my ethnicity, my religion,” Shaikh said.
A number of residents found the nasty anonymous letter in their mailboxes which began by slamming the home builder as a “big liar” but escalated into things like “say no to Muslim politicians” urging residents to vote for anyone but him.
Shaikh says despite losing the selectman’s race, he was re-elected to his post as a member of town meeting.
“It certainly paints a poor picture,” said Town Manager Dan Morgado, who condemned the letter.
However, Morgado also worried about publicity empowering the author.
“We now have a situation where people can do these things anonymously, either in writing or via social media, and the repeating of it becomes a story,” Morgado said.
When Rashid Shaikh first ran for selectman in 2009, the father-of-three received telephone death threats. He consulted police then and has done so again now out of concern for his family.
“Shrewsbury is a great town however we have some challenges,” Shaikh said.
Shaikh says he has volunteered for countless boards and committees to no avail, even though one of every five Shrewsbury residents is now foreign born.
“All colors in the bouquet makes more sense than just one color,” Shaikh said.
It is unclear where the offending letter came from, or who wrote it. It includes nasty personal allegations, which Shaikh says are all untrue.