A Broward elected official claims the Sun-Sentinel apologized to a Coral Springs city commission candidate for daring to publish an accurate description of his legal work. Last week, REDBROWARD revealed how the April 2019 profile of six Coral Springs candidates was severely edited after attorney Khurrum Wahid claimed the piece was an example of “Islamophobia.” In the original version, Sun-Sentinel reporter Lisa Huriash gave specifics about Khurrum Wahid’s role as legal counsel to numerous terrorism suspects. Wahid, who often touts his “civil rights” work, was described as “one of the nation’s most well-known at handling high-profile terrorism cases.” The story named several of Wahid’s clients including a Boca Raton doctor with ties to “al-Qaida militants.”
By May 2, the Sun-Sentinel removed the language about “al-Qaida militants” as well as the description calling Wahid a nationally known lawyer even though they were factually correct.
On Saturday May 11th, Alissa Jean Schafer, an elected member of the Broward Soil and Water District, attacked one of Wahid’s opponents for sharing the Sun-Sentinel story. While it’s unknown if Schafer has an official role with the campaign, she has been photographed at Wahid’s side during numerous political events. Schafer blasted Diane Simpson for “feeding into the fear mongering” by “sharing this racist article.” Schafer seemed displeased that Simpson used the article in campaign advertising.
The Simpson Facebook advertisement made no mention of Khurrum Wahid. It simply shared the Sun-Sentinel story which includes a profile of Simpson herself. But Schafer believes the sharing of a newspaper story could lead to violence.
Schaefer wrote, “This is downright shameful at best, and dangerous at worst. We already know that spreading hateful fear-mongering rumors can lead to devastating violence, we have far too many recent examples.”
Alissa Schafer, an elected official, thinks the Sun-Sentinel story could lead to violence?
It gets worse.
In her screed against Diane Simpson, Alissa Schafer claims the Sun-Sentinel apologized to Khurrum Wahid.
Schafer wrote, “For context, this article resulted in several letters and opeds being submitted to the Sun Sentinel, and Khurrum also received an apology from the reporter. It is a problem that the article was not fully corrected and remains online.”
Why does Schafer want to censor the news? Isn’t it dangerous when an elected official wants to silence the free press?
Then, Schafer tells a Facebook friend that the reporter made the apology over the telephone instead of in writing.
Why would Lisa Huriash apologize to Khurrum Wahid? Was she ordered by an editor? The current story offers no mention of an apology or a correction.
Would the Sun-Sentinel force its Pulitzer Prize winning reporters to apologize to the Broward politicians over a fact-based story?
Just yesterday, Judge Elizabeth Scherer dismissed the Broward School District’s attempts to jail reporters for reporting the truth. Should they apologize for making the Board look bad?
Alissa Jean Schaefer’s full statement follows:
Alright folks, it’s time to call it like it is. This is not okay. As a progressive woman, I’m involved in local politics because decisions made at the community level matter, and that means our local elected officials matter too. It’s no secret that I am supporting Khurrum Wahid, Candidate for Coral Springs City Commission, Seat 2, a nationally recognized attorney, successful entrepreneur, proud father, and community advocate. He has raised more funds for his campaign than any other candidate, has developed a solid platform, is out in the community talking about the issues that matter to his neighbors, and is endorsed by a long list of respected orgs and individuals. He also happens to be Muslim. While some of his opponents have had the courage to call out the racist attacks that he and his family have had to endure simply because he is now trying to serve his city as their next commissioner, Elect Diane Simpson for Coral Springs Commission, Seat 2 is actually feeding into the fear mongering, sharing this racist article and even putting money behind it as a paid post. For context, this article resulted in several letters and opeds being submitted to the Sun Sentinel, and Khurrum also received an apology from the reporter. It is a problem that the article was not fully corrected and remains online. It’s a bigger problem that Diane is attempting to use it in order to win her campaign. This is downright shameful at best, and dangerous at worst. We already know that spreading hateful fear-mongering rumors can lead to devastating violence, we have far too many recent examples. I am incredibly disappointed that Diane (who ironically likes to run in progressive circles) is choosing this path, and it speaks unfortunate volumes about the type of person and candidate that she is. Diane, if you want to win this election, I suggest you run a clean campaign and spend your time talking with the voters about what changes you would bring to Coral Springs, not spreading racist tropes about an opponent.