A photograph of Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams posing with Linda Sarsour (a Palestinian-American Muslim political activist) has generated attention on social media — not just because of Sarsour’s notoriety, but because the campaign sign Abrams is seen holding identifies her as a “Communist” and includes the hashtag “#MuslimBrotherhood”:
The original photograph, as posted to Abrams’ own Twitter account, was taken at a political rally in Atlanta on 20 January 2018. Notably, in the undoctored version of the image the campaign sign Abrams is holding contains no legend identifying her as a “Communist” nor a hashtag for the Muslim Brotherhood:
Proud to stand with activist, organizer and @womensmarch national co-chair @lsarsour during #WomensMarch2018. When women speak up, stand up and show up for progress, incredible things happen. Let’s get to work. #PowerToThePolls #PowerToThePollsGA #TeamAbrams #gapol pic.twitter.com/CCW81wUXmy
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) January 20, 2018
Manipulated photograph aside, we found no evidence that Stacey Abrams’ campaign had advocated on behalf of communist policies or was willingly associated with the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) or any other communist organization. We also found no evidence of Abrams’ being endorsed or supported by the Muslim Brotherhood (other than an assumed indirect association through activist Linda Sarsour, who has actually stated that she does not support the Muslim Brotherhood).
As reported by the Associated Press, Abrams’ director of communications stated that the photograph was “doctored to imply that Stacey Abrams has affiliations she does not have”:
“This photo has been doctored to imply that Stacey Abrams has affiliations she does not have,” Priyanka Mantha, Abrams’ director of communications, told The Associated Press in a statement. “While true that the photo was taken with one of the co-chairs of the Women’s March in 2018, the sign being held up has been altered in a deceitful attempt to mislead voters.”
Mantha said that Abrams has been a strong supporter of Israel and the Jewish community.
Sarsour has been criticized by right-wing groups for her Muslim faith. False reports have circulated about her online suggesting that she supports Islamic State group, which she has denied.