A Minnesota Republican Party official issued a “call to arms” against Muslims Thursday, calling them “terrorists” and “parasites” and suggesting that someone should “frag ‘em.”
Jack Whitley, chairman of the Big Stone County Republican Party, has no apology for a series of inflammatory posts on his personal Facebook page -- remarks state GOP officials have condemned as "outrageous."
“Muslims are terrorists. They don’t belong in this country,” Whitley told the Star Tribune Thursday. “Their attitude and their agenda don’t belong in this country. They cause terror and discontent, total chaos everywhere they are.”
The Minnesota Republican Party rejected Whitley's statements.
"I condemn the outrageous comments posted on Mr. Whitley's Facebook page," Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey said in a statement Thursday. "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. We recently moved our office into the heart of Minneapolis, were proud to endorse our first Somali-American candidate for the state legislature, and have worked hard to welcome the fine Americans from these communities into our Party."
In a Facebook post Wednesday, Whitley wrote:
"I have no desire to hold hands and play pattycake with these people," he told the Star Tribune. "It's pointless. They don't understand peace...They understand one thing, and that's aggressive force."
That, he said, includes any American Muslims who do not "stand up and deal with the aggression and terrorist activities within their own ideology."
His post was one of many on his Facebook page condemning Islam, homosexuality, Communism and other topics. This post, first spotted by the Bluestem Prairie blog, brought protests from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“It’s very disturbing to see a Republican Party leader engage in outright bigotry and hate,” CAIR-Minnesota executive director Lori Saroya said in a statement. “These broad-brush smears of the entire Muslim community remind us of similar smears against Catholics, Jews and others in the past.”
Whitley, for his part, sees no reason to apologize. In a fresh blog post this morning, he wrote:
When asked whether his feelings about Muslims extended to peaceful Muslim-American men, women and children – including Minneapolis’s Muslim-American congressman, Keith Ellison,
“I don’t really see much of Islam being peaceful at all,” he said. “Don’t come into this country, infiltrating this country with your terrorist activities and terrorist agendas and call it a ‘holy war.”
If statements like "frag 'em" -- a reference to detonating a fragmentation grenade -- creates an atmosphere of violence against Muslim-Americans, Whitley said followers of the religion bring it upon themselves if they fail to reject Islamic extremists.
"You have the right to follow any path of religion you choose, as long as it does not violate other people's peace," he said. "Your association with those in your religion who have those terrorist activities, and your unwillingness to call them on the carpet for it? No, you no longer have the right to practice that religion if it infringes on the peace and the tranquility of this nation and the people around you. That nullifies your constitutional right to practice your freedom of religion."