Controversial campaign flyer in Sugar Land

June 4, 2011 11:55:27 AM PDT
There's nothing 'sweet' about the Sugar Land City Council election. A flyer being sent to some voters in Sugar Land implies a connection between a candidate and a woman convicted of having terrorist ties. The mayor of Sugar Land is calling for this case to be decided based on a candidate's qualifications and nothing more.

A flyer being circulated by an unknown source quotes an article written allegedly in the Express Tribune newspaper claiming that Sugar Land attorney Farha Ahmed is representing a woman serving time for attacks on US military and the FBI. The flyer goes on to label that convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui as 'Lady Al Qaeda'.

A representative told Eyewitness News that Ahmed never represented Siddiqui, and she isn't even qualified to practice in federal court.

"Frankly, as an attorney who is NOT a criminal defense lawyer, nor licensed to practice in any state other than Texas, nor in federal court, I would not be retained as an attorney in such a case," Ahmed said in a prepared statement."I do not believe that answering this question will stop the smear campaign against me by those who have a hidden agenda. They will continue to ask questions unrelated to the platform I am running on or the city issues we care about."

Ahmed is now worried about her family's safety.

Sugar Land Mayor James Thompson issued a terse statement Friday in response to the flyer, calling this sort of campaigning "unfortunate." He thinks she needs to respond to the allegations in detail.

"Knowing her ... living in our community, I would find it really hard to believe. It's incumbent on somebody to answer those questions," Thompson said.

The flyer says it is paid for by a "concerned citizen" -- someone not affiliated with any candidate or any political party.

Fort Bend District Attorney John Healey notes that Ahmed is not a criminal attorney, and that she only does civil litigation. Healey says this is an attempt to suggest guilt by association.

The runoff in this Sugar Land city council election is set for June 11.

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