A Muslim progressive activist who has allegedly been lying for years about her ethnic identify, claiming to be a woman of color, has resigned from her position as senior inclusion officer of a Philadelphia-based social justice group.
“Raquel Saraswati, who is facing public allegations that she misrepresented her background and past associations, has informed us of her intention to separate from the organization,” American Friends Service Committee rep Layne Mullett told USA Today.
Saraswati, 39, who was born Rachel Elizabeth Seidel, was the chief equity, inclusion and culture officer of the Philadelphia-based, progressive Quaker group that fights “violence, inequality and oppression.”
She was recently outed by The Intercept for pretending to be of Latin, South Asian and Arab descent – and her mother, Carol Perone, told the outlet that the woman is actually of British, German and Italian descent.
“I call her Rachel. I don’t know why she’s doing what she’s doing,” Perone said. “I’m as white as the driven snow and so is she.”
Mullett told USA Today in an email that AFSC supports Saraswati and described her decision to leave the outfit as “difficult” and “deeply personal.”
Saraswati, who appears to have deleted or locked most of her social media accounts, told the Daily Beast that she wanted “to maintain discretion” regarding her employment.
“I have carried out my work at AFSC with integrity and sincere commitment, moving forward many aspects of organizational culture,” she told the outlet.
“I will be handling this phase of my relationship with AFSC with the same level of thoughtfulness and care as I did [other] important matters,” Saraswati said.
“I am currently taking the time I need both with loved ones as well as with professional counsel to ensure that the doors are soon closed on this,” she added.
Last week, AFSC human resources official Oskar Pierre Castro, who helped hire Saraswati for her diversity leadership role, said he felt “conned” and deceived” by the revelations.
He believed she was a “queer, Muslim, multiethnic woman” because that’s what she said she was.
Some AFSC members expressed concerns that Saraswati may have been harboring a hidden political agenda and was working on behalf of groups that seek to undermine the group.
The activist has been referred to online as “the new Rachel Dolezal” — referring to the white woman who in 2015 was exposed as having lied about her race for years and became president of the NAACP’s chapter in Spokane, Washington.