Muslim civil rights groups are speaking out after a local commissioner in Kansas shared controversial comments and a slide show at a recent government meeting that included terrorists and criminals who had a derivative of the name "Muhammed."
Debate began after Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn prefaced a speech about radical Islam during a Nov. 18 meeting by warning that "it's going to be politically incorrect."
"There is a clear and present danger in our own country," Peterjohn warned, saying that his statements were sparked by the Paris terror attacks and that they served as a "public warning," according to KSN-TV.
The politician said that he's been cautious to speak out, but that he felt compelled to do so earlier this week.
"Now I’ve heard some folks say, ‘well, not all Muslims are terrorists.’ But irrelevant. Not all Russians were communists, not all Germans were Nazis," Peterjohn said. "We have plenty of incidents, and I’m going to mention one that I’ve wanted to say, speak out on this, but I’ve held my counsel, held my breath for quite awhile."
After his introductory remarks, Peterjohn began showing a slideshow that included pictures and information about past criminals and terrorists named Mohamed or Muhammed, including 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta, among others.
“Let’s go onto the next Mohammed," he said during the slide show, speaking of Mohammed Bouyer, a man who killed a film director. "This Mohammed hated our first amendment freedom of expression and he tried to behead, almost succeeded, but he did fatally stab a Dutch movie director who produced a movie that he didn’t like."
He also went after President Barack Obama, claiming that the president is more tough on Republicans, rhetorically speaking, than he is Islamic terrorists, with Peterjohn juxtaposing himself against Obama.
"Unlike the President, my father was a Christian, not a Muslim," he said. "I did not have a Muslim stepfather, or educated in a Muslim school overseas."
See his full comments below:
The Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations responded to the meeting by essentially calling the comments "bigoted."
"What I am hearing from our community is a lot of people are very concerned about this crescendo of calls from different politicians, mostly unfortunately Republican politicians, that are almost racing to see who is more bigoted than the other," Moussa Elbayoumy, Kansas board chairman for CAIR, told the Associated Press.
Elbayoumy said that the remarks added problems to what is already perceived by CAIR as an Islamophobic atmosphere.
Islamic Society of Wichita spokesman Hussam Madi also called the comments "inflammatory" and called for education about what Islam truly encompasses.
"I think we should educate the public about who the Muslims are. A lot of Americans are Muslisms," Madi said. "They serve in this city, and along the United States, all over, in every state and every city, [they] are doctors, highly educated people."
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