The Brexit Party are in the process of announcing a new batch of MP candidates, after releasing 50 names on Friday and another 50 yesterday.
Despite so few candidates having been announced, we’ve already reported that two of their candidates have in the past shared Islamophobic posts online – and it seems that isn’t the end of the controversy.
We’ve discovered that Mitchell Feierstein, the Brexit Party’s candidate for Reading East, has spread baseless conspiracy theories about US Muslim politician Ilhan Omar – including the smear that she married her brother.
Feierstein is a big name for the Brexit Party – he’s a banker and investor who regularly appears on international news outlets to provide financial commentary.
However, in a blog for the Times of Israel earlier this year, Feierstein spread a series of unfounded conspiracy theories about Omar.
Arguing that Omar should be dropped from the US Foreign Affairs Committee, he firstly highlighted claims that she had obtained her US citizenship illegally.
Omar fled to the United States as an asylum seeker from Somalia and says that she became a US citizen in 2000. While Omar has never publicly released evidence of this, each member of Congress must demonstrate they are a legal US citizen if they are to stand for election. If she wasn’t a legal citizen, she wouldn’t have been allowed to run.
Secondly, Feierstein said, “compelling evidence exists showing Congresswoman Omar married her brother Ahmed Nur Said Elmi.”
As the Daily Beast explains in this article, the conspiracy theory about Omar’s brother is “based entirely on a single, anonymous, unsourced allegation initially made on an obscure internet forum.”
No evidence was provided to justify the claim, yet it is continually dragged up to diminish Omar’s reputation. Feierstein says that the Associated Press has reported evidence to back up the claim, but he didn’t provide a citation (and I can’t find an AP article with any details to back up the claim).
Finally, Feierstein rounds off his case by saying “numerous social media accounts support the contention that Omar married her brother and committed numerous frauds and federal felonies.”
Social media is, of course, the least reliable place to find accurate news about young, female Muslim politicians.
These are not the only reasons that Feierstein gives for Omar’s unsuitability for office. He highlights that Omar has been accused of using anti-Semitic language – a claim that has merit. In February this year, for example, Omar apologised for sending a tweet implying US lawmakers only support Israel because of lobby money.
However, this doesn’t in turn mean that Feierstein was right to spread baseless smears about Omar.
Feierstein has often criticised the left for being “intolerant” towards others, yet it seems he is also a culprit.