Local Politics

Slur painted on Raleigh council candidate's sign

Posted October 6, 2017 12:47 p.m. EDT
Updated October 6, 2017 7:04 p.m. EDT

— An ethnic slur was spray-painted on a campaign sign for Raleigh City Council candidate Zainab Baloch.

The slur, along with "Trump" and what appears to be a swastika, was found Friday morning on one of Baloch's signs along Louisburg Road. The Wake County Sheriff's Office is investigating the vandalism.

"For us to wake up to an image like this, we were just extremely disheartened," said Baloch, a Muslim who is among seven people running for two at-large seats on the City Council.

"To be honest, this hurts. There's no way around it," she said. "I'm still a human being, I'm still a person, and I still have feelings."

Mayor Nancy McFarlane said she was appalled by the vandalism.

"This is absolutely reprehensible. There is no place for racist rhetoric anywhere in the City of Raleigh," McFarlane said in a statement. "One of the things that makes Raleigh great is our diversity. We are an accepting community that embraces all of our citizens. Raleigh is stronger because we work together to lift each other up. Anything that tries to tear us apart will not be tolerated."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations also expressed outrage over the incident.

"This type of hate incident seeks to prevent positive civic engagement by all our nation’s citizens, thereby undermining the very foundation of democracy," CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement. "Americans across the political spectrum must condemn this hate-filled act of intimidation."

Baloch said she's used to hurtful words.

"I am a Raleigh native. I've never called any other place home. But throughout my life, and being here, I continue to be told to 'go home,'" she said, adding that the defaced sign only reinforces her decision to run for office.

"This country right now is in a place where we have so much hateful rhetoric, and in order to get rid of that, we need to have these discussions as a country," she said. "We cannot brush these things off, because people might think they're just words right now, but these words lead to violence. They lead to people getting hurt, and we need to have these discussions to make sure everyone in this city feels safe.

"I'm here to stay, and there's no words you can say to get me out," Baloch said.

Early voting in the Oct. 10 election runs through 1 p.m. Saturday.