CAIR-LA Calls for Resignation of SLO County Planning Commissioner Over Islamophobic, Racist Posts

(LOS ANGELES, CA – 12/31/2019) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today strongly condemned the xenophobic Facebook posts made by San Luis Obispo County Planning Commissioner Jim Harrison targeting Muslims, migrants from South America and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and called on him to resign from his post.

According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Harrison has multiple posts on his Facebook wall with memes with anti-Islamic and anti-immigrant messages.

On Nov. 21, he shared a meme that read: “American needs to shut down all Mosques and ban Islam. Bet you won’t repost this.”

When someone posted a comment that the Constitution protects religious freedom, Harrison replied:

“I would agree if this were a religion however it is a terrorist group that band and hide under the guise of being a religion.”

On Dec. 11, he posted a meme of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pictured in Nazi attire. The caption under the photo read: “Minister of Propaganda Frau Nancy Pelosi.

On Nov. 28, 2018, he shared a post decrying the legitimacy of migrants seeking asylum.

On Nov. 20, 2018, he shared a meme decrying the House of Representatives for changing its rules regarding headwear to accommodate Rep. Ilhan Omar, who wears a hijab. The meme suggested House Republicans should wear Make America Great Again hats.

According to the Tribune, Harrison is a former Nipomo Community Services president and board member of the South County Advisory Council. He was originally appointed to the county planning commission in 2015 by County Supervisor Lynn Compton and re-appointed for a second four-year term in January 2019.

READ: ‘Shame on you.’ SLO County official faces criticism after comparing Democrats to Nazis https://www.sanluisobispo.com/article238777703.html

In a statement, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said:

“It is beyond the pale that this Islamophobic, bigoted material would be found on the Facebook wall belonging to an official appointed to serve the public, who is instead demonizing members of his constituency. The current trend of normalizing hate speech in the Trump era – especially from people in leadership positions - has emboldened bigots in their speech, as well as their actions.”

After the news story and an editorial denouncing his posts were published, Harrison deleted some of his posts.

In a statement posted Monday, he wrote: “There was a post on my Face Book that offended some people I apologize if it was offensive to you. The post was deleted when this came to my attention.”

“Mr. Harrison is sorry that his hatred was discovered. It is obvious that he has a long history of bigotry and xenophobia. We call on him to resign immediately. If he is unwilling, Supervisor Compton should remove him.”

CAIR-LA is Southern California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims. 

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CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Manager Eugene W. Fields, 714-851-4851 or efields@cair.com


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