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New Jersey officials’ anti-Islam posts on government social media accounts spark controversy

Posted at 9:32 PM, Jul 26, 2019

SUSSEX COUNTY, N.J. — Two New Jersey officials are under fire after content they posted on social media raised eyebrows for its hateful tone.

One post called to eradicate Islam while another labeled a sitting congresswoman a terrorist. Despite calls for them to resign, these two officials still remain in their posts, both offering little to no apologies for social media activity some have deemed racist and anti-Islam.

Posts targeted four freshman congresswomen — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar — the same group of elected officials President Trump recently told to “go back” to where they came from, despite all being American citizens.

One retweet called to “eradicate Islam from every town, city, county and state in our homeland.”

When some in the county started asking questions, the Sussex county GOP committee issued a statement appearing to pin the blame on their chairman, Jerry Scanlan.

“Scanlan has agreed to remove himself from involvement in any social media platform concerning the Sussex County Republican Committee," they told WPIX in a statement.

The committee however, fell short of condemning the content.

It happened in the same week Toms River's regional board of education member Daniel Leonard came under fire for similar posts on his personal Facebook page, including one where he zeroed in on Rep. Tlaib, writing "My life would be complete if she/they die."

Many in the district have now called for his resignation.

"It's dangerous. We are living in very dangerous times right now," said Abdul Mubarak-Rowe, communications director for New Jersey's chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations which has condemned both officials, warning of dire consequences if this type of rhetoric doesn’t stop.

"These things have extraordinary outcomes, because it gives people license to feel they could go out and commit these acts of violence," he added.

Scanlon and Leonard have not returned several attempts by WPIX to get in touch via phone and email.