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Man sent anti-Muslim tweets to a political candidate who then helped pay his medical debt

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Qasim Rashid, a Democrat running for Congress, said a conservative constituent sent him "deeply hurtful anti-Muslim tweets" last week, which included a meme that falsely claimed that Islam promoted violent acts, such as rapes and beheadings.


That constituent was Oscar Dillon.


Dillon, 66, of Fredericksburg, said in a GoFundMe campaign he launched last month that his retirement savings were depleted. He said that because of the rising costs of his and his wife's medical care and because his annual income is about $38,000 a year, the couple are "broke" by the 23rd of each month.

The couple have debt from his wife's treatment for a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, and their home needs updates to make it handicapped-accessible for her, Dillon wrote on GoFundMe.



Dillon confirmed that he sent the anti-Muslim tweets and described his meeting with Rashid as "astounding" and "mind-boggling" in an interview with NBC News on Tuesday.

"What this has done is reopen my eyes," Dillon said. "9/11 was a tragic time for me and my family."


Dillon said that a handful of his loved ones were in direct danger during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and that after the attacks, he had a hatred toward "radical Islam."


But Rashid's generosity and the kindness it has inspired left Dillon feeling embarrassed and made him rethink his hatred.


"This has reopened my eyes to pre-9/11, where I would look at each individual as a person," Dillon said. "He has showed me that there is good in all walks of life."



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That’s the thing about being any sort of minority - you basically have to be an outstanding individual to change someone’s prejudices. There’s a burden about representing the group you are a part of, and that itself can exhausting.


But when living by example is successful, it does feel rewarding. I’ve had at least a handful of people tell me that I helped to change their views on gay/bi people.

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