Muslim activist turns out to be ‘white as the driven snow’
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Published Feb 21, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 2 minute read
A Muslim activist who, at various times, also claimed to be of Latin, South Asian and of Arab descent, is actually white, according to her mother.
Raquel Saraswati works as a chief equity, inclusion and culture officer at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which strives to “bring together people of all faiths and backgrounds to challenge injustice and build peace around the globe.”
Little did they know they would hire someone who has claimed to be multiple faiths and backgrounds.
“I call her Rachel,” her mother, Carol Perone, told the Intercept. “I don’t know why she’s doing what she’s doing.”
Perone told the outlet that her daughter is of British, German, and Italian descent.
“I’m as white as the driven snow and so is she,” she said.
Perone said her daughter converted to Islam in high school, the likely reason she decided to fake her race.
“She’s chosen to live a lie, and I find that very, very sad.”
Those who work at AFSC are now second-guessing Saraswati.
“A group of individuals who care deeply about AFSC” wrote an open letter to Medium, expressing their concern about her role and identity.
They accused the 39-year-old of “cultural vulturism” and noted “the shades of bronzer she applies to her face have become darker over time.”
However, Mark Graham, AFSC’s chief marketing and communications officer, said the organization “has given Raquel the opportunity to address the allegations against her, and Raquel stands by her identity.”
He added: “Raquel also assures us that she remains loyal to AFSC’s mission, which we firmly believe.”
Saraswati’s identity was first questioned by media commentator Sana Saeed, who tweeted in 2015: “Can we talk about ‘Raquel Dolezal’ in the Muslim community. Y’all know who I mean.”
In 2004, a year before Saraswati married girlfriend Anh Dao Kolbe (they have since divorced), the couple were mentioned in a newspaper feature in which Saraswati went by the name “Seidel” and said she was of Arab and Latin descent.
“While they are confident they want to marry, they also want to take the time to plan something that respects Seidel’s Arab and Latin traditions and 33-year-old Kolbe’s Vietnamese traditions,” a Boston Globe writer penned.
Saraswati’s race-faking is being likened to that of Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who posed as a Black woman for years and eventually rose to become president of an NAACP chapter in Spokane, Wash.
Download the letter here:
The controversy at the American Friends Service Committee puts a spotlight on the “diversity and equity” industry’s shortcomings.
A Muslim activist who, at various times, also claimed to be of Latin, South Asian and Arab descent, is actually white, according to her mom.