Washington, DC – Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of The Interfaith Alliance released the following statement in response to reports that Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign circulated a photograph of Senator Barack Obama in traditional Somali dress:

If it is true that this photo was circulated by the Clinton campaign, then they should be ashamed of themselves, and Senator Clinton should apologize. This incident is the latest example of presidential candidates using religion to divide this nation rather than to unite it. Senator Obama is not a Muslim and never has been; but even if he were, it should not matter. Candidates should be judged on their merits, not on what house of worship they attend.

The circulation of this photo is clearly not aimed at promoting better interfaith relations, and it has the broader impact of marginalizing the Muslim community as a whole. It is a modern day scare tactic in the tradition of the Willie Horton ad.

Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.