CAIR Calls on Maine, New Jersey GOP Chairs to Repudiate Prejudiced Comments by Officials

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

CAIR-NJ Civil Rights Director Khurrum Ali, Esq., 908-668-5900, kali@cair.com; CAIR Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia Director Corey Saylor, 202-384-8857, csaylor@cair.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, arubin@cair.com

CAIR Calls on Maine, New Jersey GOP Chairs to Repudiate Prejudiced Comments by Officials

WASHINGTON - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the Republican Party chairs in Maine and New Jersey to repudiate comments made recently by GOP officials in those states that revealed prejudices, including anti-Muslim prejudice.

In New Jersey, Union Beach Mayor Paul Smith shared an image on Facebook that called President Obama "a communist, a Muslim, and an illegal alien," clearly referring to those groups in a pejorative manner.

In the same county as Smith, Marlboro Board of Education Vice President Victoria Dean posted a story on Facebook about a school district that had added Muslim holidays to its calendar, writing "Pandora's box opened." Below that post a man commented, "Because America isn't American anymore! its [sic] run by foreigners including this RAG HEAD PRESIDENT!" Dean apparently "liked" that comment.

SEE: Facebook posts put Monmouth GOP officials in hot water (Asbury Park Press)

In Maine, State Sen. Michael Willette shared a Facebook post on March 1 that implied that President Obama's relatives are in the terrorist group ISIS. Yesterday Willette apologized for sharing the post publicly but not for its content.

CAIR is calling on New Jersey Republican Party Chairman Sam Raia and Maine Republican Party Chairman Rick Bennett to repudiate these comments by their party officials and the intolerant and harmful views they reveal.

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

"The statements these officials made reveal prejudiced views that could affect how they serve their constituents and could inflame hatred against Muslims and immigrants," said CAIR-NJ Civil Rights Director Khurrum Ali. "We should hold elected officials to a higher standard because they must be able to serve the public fairly."

In a similar case, anti-Islam posts on a Wisconsin alderwoman's Facebook page prompted a rebuke from city officials. And in South Carolina, state Rep. Alan Clemmons' claimed in a Facebook post that he has "proved" that worldwide domination is a mainstream Muslim goal. In Oklahoma, state Rep. John Bennett called on Oklahoma residents to be "wary" of "Muslim Americans" and falsely states that the Quran teaches to kill all non-Muslims.

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CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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