RARITAN TWP., NJ – In a statement this afternoon, Raritan Township Deputy Mayor Lou Reiner apologized for his remarks yesterday that Islam is a cancer and “absolutely evil.”

"I sincerely regret my Facebook post yesterday using a poor choice of words, seemingly calling the entire Islamic faith violent," Reiner wrote. "My intentions were to highlight the radical fringe jihadists who have highjacked their faith. We need more people of faith in our society today. I offer this apology to the vast majority of Muslims who practice their faith peacefully and contribute greatly to our community."

The issue that began with a Facebook post shared by Reiner, and reported by TAPinto yesterday along with his comments, found both supporters and objectors on social media.

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In a letter to the editor, the Communications Director for the state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Reiner “owes the Muslims of New Jersey an apology” and that Reiner should “reevaluate his blind support of the President’s policies.”

Haroon Tahir is the Chairman of the Islamic Center of Hunterdon County in Flemington.

“I know there are many people out there who fear Islam and have the same understanding,” he wrote to Reiner. He offered to meet with Reiner “and clarify some clear misunderstandings you have. With Muslims making up 25 percent of the world’s population, the view of Islam that you hold is not the view that 1.8 billion people hold.”

Rep. Tom Malinowski called Reiner’s remarks “dangerous” and “racist” and called on Reiner to either apologize or resign.

“This hate filled rhetoric has no place in our country,” Malinowski said. “In every part of New Jersey and across the United States, Muslim-Americans are part of our American family.”

Ironically, groundbreaking for Hunterdon's first mosque was held in Raritan Township three years ago.