Alameda County GOP calls Tim Donnelly's comments about Kashkari racist

Alameda County GOP calls Tim Donnelly's comments about Kashkari racist
GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The Alameda County Republican Party on Tuesday denounced as racist GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly’s statements linking rival Neel Kashkari with fundamentalist Islamic law.

"I'm sorry to report that Tim Donnelly and his supporters have used bigotry, racism and outright ignorance to try to win the Primary," said an unsigned post on the group's Facebook page. "They are trading [in] innuendo and false reporting that Neel Kashkari …  endorses Sharia Finance. I am so disgusted by this turn of events by other Republicans."

The group was reacting to Donnelly's comments Monday and Tuesday saying Kashkari supports sharia law, the Islam-based code that governs personal and business behavior that has been in the news because celebrities and activists this week protested its imposition in Brunei. An arm of the tiny nation's government owns the Beverly Hills Hotel, leading demonstrators to protest there because of sharia's harsh punishments for homosexuality and adultery.

Donnelly said Kashkari condones the strictures of sharia law because Kashkari in 2008 participated in a U.S. Treasury conference about Islamic finance.

Kashkari, a former Treasury official, called Donnelly's assertion "absurd," and said the 2008 conference at which he delivered remarks as an assistant Treasury secretary was about expanding free-market principles in Islamic nations. Financial restrictions under Islamic rule include not allowing the charging of interest, and not investing in companies that produce forbidden goods.

Donnelly on Tuesday stood by his remarks, sending a tweet that highlighted news coverage of what he deemed Kashkari's "submission" to sharia law.