WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A Virginia State Senator is defending his actions after coming under fire for writing a congratulatory letter to Syrian President Assad.
"I'm deeply concerned that the United States has aligned itself with Al Qaida," says Virginia State Senator Dick Black.
Black is convinced the rebels in Syrian are part of Al Qaida. Loudoun County said, he wrote this letter to Syrian President Bashar al Assad, thanking him for a recent victory.
"They freed 13 Catholic nuns who had been held hostage and held as human shields," said Black.
Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in civil war claiming the lives of 100,000 people. Assad has been accused of using chemical weapons on his own people.
Black said he does not believe Assad gas his people, but does not want to get into an argument about Assad. He wrote the letter, he said, to bring attention to atrocities committed by the rebels in Syria, specifically those against Christians.
Democrat Jennifer Wexton who serves with Black in the state senate says his letter is a misuse of his office.
"We really do need to focus on the issues here at home. We don't' have a budget yet for Virginia. That needs to be our top priority, to pass a budget and close the coverage gap and help get insurance to the hundreds of thousands of Virginians who have no health insurance," said Wexton.
This is Black's view on expanding Medicaid from his Facebook page: "If the governor gets his way, it'll be the largest welfare expansion since Lyndon Johnson. 400,000 new people would be moved onto the welfare rolls and they are not even under the poverty line."
Black has sparked controversy before.
Years ago when he was in the House of Delegates, he made an unusual plea to Senators trying to convince them to pass an anti-abortion measure. He left envelopes on their desks with tiny pink, plastic babies inside to resemble fetuses that might be aborted. He has also questioned whether marital rape should be a crime and deemed emergency contraception, to be "baby pesticide."
But Black has a deep interest in international affairs having served as a Marine in Vietnam. He says he is pushing for peace in Syria, and wants the United States to stop siding with the rebels and leave Bashar al-Assad alone.
Black said, "Assad has never been a threat to the United States. I think that's crystal clear."