CAMDEN, NJ — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) on Monday called on the state to repudiate the Camden County Republican Committee over Facebook posts it called “anti-Muslim.”
"The Camden County Republican Committee Facebook page is an unapologetic hotbed of Islamophobic and anti-Muslim propaganda,” said CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut in a statement. “You would expect to see such racist and bigoted rhetoric in the dark recesses of the Internet, but not on the official Facebook page of a local political party.”
Last year, the Camden GOP acknowledged that their page — which currently stands at 6,329 followers — has taken on a “decidedly different tone.”
“Party building and brand awareness will be the focus while we work hard to change the single party rule in Camden County,” the CCGOP said in a post dated July 5, 2019. “Past accusations of malaise or being weak will be dispelled immediately. Change is upon us, the CCGOP will not tacitly make our case for candidates or positions, we will engage with smash mouth politics on every issue.”
CAIR-NJ, which bills itself America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, pointed to a Jan 3 post depicting actor John Hamm laughing as Don Draper from “Mad Men” with the comment, “When I heard Trump took out the leader of ISIS I thought he got Obama.”
In a January 6 post, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is Muslim, is shown “laughing” in a meme above an image of the burning World Trade Center buildings, along with the statement: “The enemy within.”
The following day: images of an imaginary back-and-forth in which Omar says, “I hate Trump,” with Trump responding, “Most terrorists do.”
“The differences between conservative Republican and middle American values and those of the progressive Democrats are vast,” continues the CCGOP in a pinned post at the top of their homepage. “We will amplify our ideological differences with those on the left with our love of family, flag and faith. No longer will we be thought of as weak or unengaged.”
According to CAIR-NJ, the Camden GOP page has been flagged in the past for two “false posts.”
Maksut said the posts should be “wholeheartedly condemned” by the New Jersey Republican Party.
“This serves as a painful reminder of the Islamophobia that grips our nation today," he said. "At a time when hate crimes are on the rise, such vile speech is irresponsible and puts New Jersey Muslims at risk."
In a statement sent to WHYY Wednesday, the chairman of the Camden County GOP apologized for the political memes.