Nadeem Mazen would prefer to talk about boosting affordable housing, increasing the minimum wage, or improving education.
But lately, the first Muslim elected — and, recently, reelected — to a government post in the state has been talking a lot more about his faith.
Even before extremists struck in Paris and San Bernadino, Calif., Mazen was defending his religion after an article by a group targeting Muslim leaders surfaced last month, accusing him of being a front man for a terrorist group.
Since the massacres, Mazen said, he has felt swept into the vortex of fear and heightened political rhetoric swirling around Muslims. The vitriol pierced his Twitter feed, his voicemail, and the supportive wall of his inner circle. It grew worse after GOP candidate Donald J. Trump said federal authorities should temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country.