BOISE, Idaho — A Republican candidate for the Idaho Statehouse defended the use of a Muslim slur on his public Facebook page by saying he likes to trigger debate with incendiary comments.

The Idaho Statesman reports Kevin Rhoades of Boise, the GOP nominee challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Sue Chew for her House seat, used the derogatory term in a post about a man he apparently blocked from his Facebook page on July 27.

Rhoades deleted the post after the Boise newspaper inquired about it.

But in an email, he said he likes to use incendiary comments "because it helps trigger debate on political issues that I care about."

Said Ahmed-Zaid, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Boise, told the Statesman Rhoades' post was offensive, and said he questions Rhoades' judgment and character.