A school board member in New Jersey said Wednesday he will neither apologize nor resign after the discovery of his online posts about Muslims – including two members of the U.S. House, according to reports.
Dan Leonard’s comments came after more than a dozen speakers spoke out against him at a school board meeting, the Asbury Park Press reported. Leonard represents Beachwood on the Toms River Regional Board of Education, the report said.
A post accompanying a photo of U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., included the words, “my life would be complete if she/they die,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., left, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.
Leonard objected to being portrayed as anti-Muslim, insisting instead that he opposed Sharia Law, the Asbury Park paper reported.
Dan Leonard. (Toms River Regional Schools)
Nevertheless, the posts drew calls for Leonard’s resignation from the New Jersey chapter of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“The bigoted, hateful and threatening social media posts shared by this elected board of education official serve to disqualify him for any position that has responsibility for the safety, security and well-being of New Jersey’s diverse student body,” said CAIR-NJ Executive Director James Sues in a statement.
“The bigoted views expressed by Mr. Leonard have no place in an educational system that seeks to celebrate diversity and encourage students of all faiths and backgrounds to excel scholastically and to make positive contributions to our society.”
Earlier this month, the Free Press reported, witnesses claimed seeing Leonard drive recklessly in pursuit of another vehicle before crashing. A police report later described him as “agitated,” and “uncooperative.”