(LOS ANGELES, CA – 1/4/2020) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today welcomed the resignation San Luis Obispo County Planning Commissioner Jim Harrison after a series of his xenophobic Facebook posts targeting Muslims, migrants from South America and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came to light.
According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Harrison submitting his resignation to District 4 Supervisor Lynn Compton on Jan. 3. Compton had originally appointed Harrison in 2015 and re-appointed him to a second four-year term on the county planning commission in January 2019.
The controversy surrounding Harrison began in late December when multiple posts on his Facebook wall with memes with anti-Islamic and anti- immigrant messages were discovered.
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.
After the news story and an editorial denouncing his posts was published, Harrison deleted some of his posts. In a statement posted on Dec. 30, 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.”
READ: SLO County official resigns position after offensive Facebook posts
In a statement, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said:
“We welcome Mr. Harrison’s resignation. He seems to be apologetic about being exposed as a bigot and xenophobe, rather than apologizing for being offensive. People like Mr. Harrison should never have a position as an appointed official. We hope Supervisor Compton carefully vets her next appointment to the county planning commission.”
According to the Tribune, Harrison is a former Nipomo Community Services president and board member of the South County Advisory Council.
He was slated to be honored as Nipomo’s Citizen of the Year, but in the wake of public outrage about Harrison’s Facebook posts, the Nipomo Chamber of Commerce’s steering committee recommended withdrawing the award. He sent a letter to the South County Chamber of Commerce board declining the honor on Jan. 2, as the group was considering withdrawal.
READ: SLO County official loses Citizen of Year award over bigoted posts. His position should be next
“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,” Ayloush said. “We are encouraged that the public spoke out and groups like the South County Chamber of Commerce would disassociate themselves from someone with a long history of bigotry and xenophobia.”
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 email@example.com