My religion has never really been something I ever gave thought to when it came to my identity as a Republican, a Virginian, or an American. There are, of course, the comments from my fellow Republicans, family members, and friends about the unusual decision I made to join the GOP, but I have never seen anything resembling discrimination.
However, that changed when I was made aware of tweets by Fredy Burgos, a State Central Committee member from the 11th Congressional District .
According to Fredy Burgos, being a Muslim means you are a Nazi. I have heard a lot of crap interesting perspectives, but equating Islam to Nazism takes the cake. And while I’m no advocate for political correctness, this crosses a line.
Although I occasionally run into grossly misinformed comments on social media, they have never been from someone who is significantly involved in Virginia politics. However, this is a clear violation of what the GOP stands for. We cannot have our candidates advocate for religious freedom when a member of the party leadership is debasing an entire group. This isn’t an issue solely on principle, but pretty bad strategy coming from one of the most Democratic and diverse districts in the Commonwealth.
As the first Muslim member of the RPV State Central Committee, I expected my experience to consist of contributing to the political climate of the Commonwealth. In my time being involved in the Republican Party, I have never felt alienated because I am Muslim. My experience in the RPV has been quite the contrary, where I have been encouraged to be proud of my faith. But now, I am facing apprehension of the intentions of my colleagues of what can only be classic ignorance.
We need leaders who continue to promote and celebrate the numerous ideas our party supports and champions including the first amendments respect of freedom of Religion. All sides of the GOP are preaching for unity. Unity means that we advocate inclusive, conservatives values that appeal to all types of people. Burgos’ comments take a huge step backward from the goal of the GOP.
With the incredibly cut throat environment of 2016 politics, we have all learned to watch our words carefully. The RPV should hold its State Central members not only accountable for their actions, but hold them to a higher standard.
To my fellow State Central Committee members: please be mindful about the statements you make on social media and to the public. Although the intentions we have might be to represent ourselves our individuals, we signed up to be walking representatives of the Republican Party of Virginia the second we get elected into the party leadership.
To my fellow Republicans: don’t let the RPV turn a blind eye to bigotry. Let your State Central representatives  know that you do not tolerate prejudice in the Republican Party.
Nadia Elgendy is the 1st Vice Chairman of the College Republican Federation of Virginia.