A Facebook post by a Republican congressman on the growth of Islam in Europe has drawn condemnation from the Council on American-Islamic Relations — among others — but the lawmaker, after deleting the post, did not apologize.
U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina last week posted an image of a white-masked man (Europe) with a noose around his neck holding a watering can above a small tree (Islam) to which the other end of rope is attached. The takeaway being that one day Islam will grow tall enough to hang Europe.
"Chew on this picture a little," Duncan wrote in his Facebook message. "The tree, IMHO, is much taller today....."
.@RepJeffDuncan shared this photo on social media and — despite backlash — he's not sorry https://t.co/Yt7SYDXmCl… https://t.co/erjhnMm2HV— Caitlin Byrd (@Caitlin Byrd)1496855212.0
Indivisible's chapter in the 3rd Congressional District — which Duncan represents — posted a screenshot of the Facebook post after 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Post and Courier reported. Indivisible is a national organization against Republican President Donald Trump's administration, the paper said.
The Indivisible chapter on Twitter called the image a "white supremacist meme," the Post and Courier said.
Bakari Sellers — a CNN contributor who served in South Carolina's legislature as a Democrat — tweeted, "Jeff I know you're not racist. Let's put that to the side. But this is bigoted, ignorant and embarrassing."
Jeff I know you're not racist. Let's put that to the side. But this is bigoted, ignorant and embarrassing. https://t.co/0MkStr7n3t— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari Sellers)1496855668.0
While the Post and Courier said Duncan deleted his Facebook post hours before Sellers called him out, the paper characterized Duncan as "bullish" about the whole thing in his statement Wednesday.
"I've never been politically correct, nor do I care to be," Duncan told the Post and Courier. "The truth is that Europe has allowed radical Islam to grow unchecked for too long, which has led to their current predicament. I want to keep America safe. Sometimes that means having to shove political correctness aside, being honest about the threats facing our country, and taking precautions like the ones President Trump has tried to implement."
The Post and Courier said Duncan didn't address why he deleted his Facebook post.
A Duncan spokesman told the paper that the congressman “figured the media would probably choose to sensationalize something this trivial, instead of engaging in an actual dialog about how to keep America safe, which has always been his goal."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Islamic advocacy group, on Thursday called on Congress to rebuke Duncan.
"Rep. Duncan's clearly racist and Islamophobic message is unworthy of a member of the United States Congress and he should be rebuked by his colleagues of all political stripes," CAIR government affairs director Robert McCaw said, according to WYFF-TV.
Duncan supports Trump's proposed travel restrictions to the U.S. from some Muslim-majority countries, the Post and Courier said, adding that Duncan introduced the "Terrorist Deportation Act," which would deport any non-citizen whose name appears on a terrorist watch list.
"The United Kingdom has suffered from 3 Islamic terrorist attacks in the past 3 months, and has prevented an additional 5 from taking place. For the past several years, I have called for us to put political correctness aside and do what is right for the country to keep our citizens safe," Duncan wrote on his Facebook page June 4, the day after the deadly London Bridge terror attack, for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility.
Duncan continued, "Our borders and broken immigration system are the soft underbelly of our country. We must take the necessary and appropriate precautions to prevent the war against radical Islam from spreading to our shores. ... To my colleagues who have obsessed over a warped notion of political correctness, I ask that you put politics aside and do what is right for the national security of the United States."
This story has been updated.