Wael Odeh is a civil engineer, a Muslim born in Palestine, who has lived in Temple Terrace for over thirty years, settling there after he graduated from the University of Southern Florida. He is a husband, father of four and grandfather of three, and in his career, has designed bridges and roads throughout America. As a productive member of the town of 25,000, Mr. Odeh has decided to run for city council.
With all his accomplishments, Mr. Odeh is facing a sadly familiar obstacle – hate. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “an anonymous letter has been mailed to a number of addresses in Temple Terrace questioning whether City Hall is safe with a Muslim working there and whether Odeh has ties to terrorism.”
“If it was directed at me personally it would not be an issue, but this thing is hitting the more than 40,000 Muslims living in the Tampa Bay area,” says Mr. Odeh. “It is absurd.”
“This unfounded and slanderous attack on Mr. Odeh is concerning, and we hope Temple Terrace residents, community leaders and neighbors will reject its Islamophobic message,” says Laila Abdelaziz of the Council for American-Islamic Relations.
“I just want the community to have a peaceful election time, and I want them to think critically on how to make their own decision,” Mr. Odeh further said. “I don’t want them to be influenced by anybody.”