Emphasizing a message of unity, Deedra Abboud, a Phoenix attorney and community activist, on Monday announced she will seek the 2018 Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.
Abboud, 45, formally launched her candidacy at a brief 10:30 a.m. event with supporters at the Japanese Friendship Garden in downtown Phoenix.
“The journey that I have decided to take on today is not just for the people who look like me or sound like me, but for all Arizonans,” Abboud told onlookers. “Because we cannot continue to go backwards on this path that weakens our children’s education, strips health care from people who need it the most, locking up and breaking up families, and, once again, empowering big banks that caused the worst housing crisis in Arizona.
“I am with the growing majority of Arizonans who know that anger and resistance can only take us so far,” she added. “We need to unite to move our families forward. We need to unite to move Arizona forward. We need to unite to move America forward.”
During her 15-minute event, an upside-down Arizona flag behind Abboud flapped in the wind. A spokesman said it was an error, and not a political statement.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is the incumbent. Flake already is facing a GOP challenge from second-time Republican Senate candidate Kelli Ward of Lake Havasu City. Abboud is the first Democratic candidate to announce for the race.
Others mentioned as possible Senate candidates include Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, a Republican who is close to President Donald Trump, and three-term U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
Abboud has been registered to vote as an independent, but a campaign spokesman said she re-registered as a Democrat Monday in advance of filing official candidacy papers.
“This isn’t about left and right. It’s about today and a tomorrow that unites us, gets the work done,” Abboud said in her announcement. “I’m ready to have the tough and candid conversations that we need in Arizona so that we can progress. I’m ready to hold our president and his administration accountable and to challenge elected officials who are more interested in keeping their job than in doing their job.”
Asked about Trump’s decision Thursday to launch a cruise missile attack on Syria in response to the suspected use of chemical weapons by Bashar Assad’s regime, Abboud zeroed in on Trump’s attempts to temporarily block refugees from Syria and certain other countries.
“We have a president who wants to ban refugees,” Abboud said. “Ban refugees who are experiencing atrocities that, thank God, America has really never experienced. And we never want to experience those. But at the same time, we have a president that is singularly partnershiping with Russia to bomb the very people who are already dying on the ground and we are denying refuge to.”
Abboud is the founder of an organization called the Global Institute of Solution Oriented Leadership and the recipient of the Martin Luther King Award in Tempe and Phoenix, according to the short bio that accompanied the news advisory about her Senate candidacy. As a lawyer, she focuses on immigration and estate planning.
In 2003, Abboud helped open the first Arizona office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She was the group’s local executive director at the time.
Alarm bells should be ringing in the ear’s of Arizona voters. CAIR is a notorious, terror-defending, terror-linked Muslim organization with many of its leaders convicted of terror-related crimes.
Back in 2006 she was interviewed via Phoenix New Times in The Chosen One:
She defends her husband’s right under Islam to have as many as four wives. “But I wouldn’t want that,” Abboud says, her hands deep in soap suds, her pastel blue headscarf, or hijab, hugging her round face. “I wouldn’t agree to it. Not right now, anyway.”
A lot of multicultural couples have blended their beliefs to make a marriage work, but Deedra Abboud’s not just a Southern girl who converted to Islam and married a guy from Iraq. She’s the director of the Arizona chapter of the Muslim American Society‘s Freedom Foundation, a Washington-based civil rights group.
Abboud is 34. Not so long ago, she was a Southern Baptist, a business major at the University of Arkansas, where she warned Muslim students that they were going to Hell for treating women poorly.
Now, she prays five times a day, but chooses which interpretations of Islam work and don’t work for her, personally. In conversation, she admits she doesn’t understand the fuss over the Danish cartoon controversy that’s sparked violent protests around the world.
“If Muslims want to protest,” she says, “why don’t they protest Guantánamo?”
But her press releases say something else. “The [Danish] paper wanted to instigate trouble by disrespecting Muslims from the very beginning,” she wrote in an e-mail to local media on February 9. But, she also wrote, “Deliberate provocations like these cartoons only gives additional power to extremists — who we are all attempting to fight in the ‘war on terror.'”
Her measured diplomacy is an asset, as well as a burden.
Still, Deedra Abboud is the chosen one, picked by Muslim men to be the face of Islam in Arizona. A white, fair-skinned face with ocean-blue eyes and a disarming smile.
Abboud was also on the board of directors of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, which was attempting to start an Arizona chapter. Abboud got involved in CAIR because she’d wanted to establish a career and an identity within the Muslim community separate from her husband.
She was politically savvy, with strong communication skills, according to her friend and spiritual adviser, Ahmad Al-Akoum. She had already established contacts with the local media. And, like most converts, she had the enthusiasm and zeal to defend Islam — and its 3 to 8 million practitioners in America, depending on whom you ask — at all costs.
So when CAIR looked to hire an Arizona staff, Abboud applied and was hired as the chapter’s director.
“Deedra was somebody we saw as already widely respected within the Muslim community,” says Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s national spokesman in Washington, D.C.
Of course, it was impossible not to see her for what she was:
A white woman with a seemingly sweet, Southern disposition — a face for Islam in America that looked nothing like the mug shots of the 19 hijackers.
Yet Hooper says that neither Abboud’s race nor her gender had anything to do with her hiring.
“It’s always valuable to have people who can relate to the community that you’re trying to reach,” Hooper says.
She is the female version of Dougie Hooper – a convert to Islam who is known for his less-than truthful double-talk.
Abboud also helped raise bail money for a now-dead Muslim terrorist who was previously convicted about lying to the FBI:
They tried to approach it to kill those inside the Mohammad art contest. Jihad! Abboud – the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Arizona – raised bail money for the dead jihadi.
Beware the smiling hijabi.