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Man Denounces Islam Outside Candidate's Home

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Monday, August 14, 2006; 3:46 AM

A demonstrator sat down Saturday near the home of a Muslim candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates with a hand-lettered sign bearing a crude denunciation of Islam.

The sign was apparently aimed at Saqib Ali, a Gaithersburg resident who is running in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary for a seat in House District 39.

The demonstrator, who wore a T-shirt reading "This mind is an Allah-free zone," planted himself near the house in the Quince Orchard Estates development that Ali also uses as a campaign office. Ali, a software engineer who is challenging three incumbents, said he went out into his small cul-de-sac to look at the man but said nothing to him.

"I knew he was there to bait me," Ali said.

According to Ali, the man began saying, " 'You are a terrorist. . . . You guys are violent extremists.' "

Ali said that he remained silent and that the man, appearing upset, stood and left. Police were later called, and Ali said he agreed with their assessment that nothing illegal took place.

The man, he said, was in a common area and not on Ali's property. But police apparently notified the man later that he could be arrested if he did go onto the candidate's property in the next year.

Ali, who was born in Chicago, said his candidacy is about such matters as "roads, the schools" and not his religion.

Calling himself "100 percent Muslim and 100 percent American," he added that "my faith is my faith . . . but that's incidental."

He said the demonstration "reminds me of the need to build bridges amongst people and among communities."

Ali said his campaign identified the demonstrator as Timothy James Truett. A campaign Web site shows an apparent copy of a no-trespass notice given to Truett.

An Associated Press account said Truett, 46, of Montgomery Village, called the demonstration "basically an experiment."

"I had heard that Muslims were generally intolerant of views other than their own, and so I thought I would put it to the test," the AP quoted him as saying. "I wanted to see what would happen."

Telephone messages left at a number listed for Truett were not returned.

-- From staff reports


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