Since Bluestem first broke the story of Big Stone County Republican Party chair Jack Whitley's Islamophobic remarks in our post, In Facebook status, Big Stone Co GOP chair calls Muslims "parasites," writes "frag em" at Mecca, Minnesota's response to his sentiments has been fairly swift and certain.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) is thankful for it in a press release issued this Thanksgiving eve:
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today welcomed the "outpouring of support" from those who joined the state's Muslim community in repudiating Islamophobic comments by Big Stone County GOP Chair Jack Whitley.
Last week, Whitley posted comments on his Facebook page calling Muslims "parasites" and advocating "frag em" in Mecca. ("Frag" refers to a fragmentation grenade, a type of hand grenade. Whitley has since taken down his Facebook page.)
CAIR-MN called on Republican Party leaders to repudiate Whitley's comments.
The chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, Keith Downey, publicly condemned Whitley's comments. In an email to CAIR-MN, he wrote:
"I condemn the outrageous comments posted on Mr. Whitley's Facebook page. They could not be further from the Republican Party's beliefs, nor more contrary to the efforts we have undertaken to include Muslim Americans, and every American, in our Party."
State Democratic Party leaders and Minnesotans of all faiths and backgrounds also condemned Whitley's bigoted comments
In a statement, Whitley's employer said: "....it is clear that this person has brought shame to us personally, to our business, our community, our county and the Republican Party. His actions must be addressed and for our part we will definitely do so. We will not tolerate this type of bigotry within our business family."
"We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and the widespread condemnation of Big Stone County GOP Chair Jack Whitley's bigoted comments," said CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya. "The people of Big Stone County and the state of Minnesota have made it clear that hatred and bigotry are not welcome in their community. They also sent an important message to the larger society that it is not okay to malign an entire group of people or incite violence against them."
Saroya said CAIR-MN is in contact with the MN GOP to discuss steps to help mitigate damage caused by the controversy. CAIR-MN has also invited Whitley to meet with Minnesota Muslims to engage in dialogue and promote mutual understanding.
Bluestem hopes Whitley will take them up on the offer.
Photo: The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge, near Ortonville, in early spring. Not far away, Big Stone Lake has frozen over, and the ice is getting thick. We recommend visiting the area and checking out whether the walleyes and perch are biting.
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