SHAFAQNA – Mary Young, an Orange County GOP official and volunteer to Donald Trump’s campaign, broadly attacked Muslims in a Facebook post Monday, among other things writing in all capital letters, “I DO NOT WANT ANY TYPE OF MUSLIMS IN OUR COUNTRY, PERIOD!”
“Mary’s comments are totally unacceptable,” Whitaker said.
Young was elected by area Republicans to serve on the county GOP’s governing Central Committee. She cannot be removed from office by party officials, but Whitaker said the party’s executive committee would meet to determine the “appropriate response.”
The Trump campaign also distanced itself from Young.
“Mary Young was a volunteer and did not serve the campaign in a formal capacity,” said Tim Clark, Trump’s California campaign director. “Moreover, I strongly disagree with her statements.”
Young’s comments, which the Laguna Niguel resident later apologized for, come at a time when some say that Trump has emboldened racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim incidents and comments.
Trump last year called for a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the country, despite legal opinions that such a move would be unconstitutional. He subsequently amended that to say the ban would apply to those from countries with “proven history of terrorism against the United States or its allies.”
“Sadly, (Young’s comments are) a result of Trump’s legitimizing and condoning this type of rhetoric from his supporters,” said Henry Vandermeir, chairman of the Democratic Party of Orange County. “I feel that his campaign and now his selection of certain cabinet nominees and advisers only furthers the belief that his administration will not be friendly to anyone of color, especially Latinos and Muslims.”
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Anaheim office of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said that recent reports of such hate incidents are the most since his group began tracking complaints. He said the national CAIR office has received 120 such complaints since the Nov. 8 election and that the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes, has tallied 700 around the country.
He called on Young to resign from the Central Committee because of her Facebook comments.
“It’s the very definition of bigotry, which has been normalized and fueled by the Trump campaign,” Ayloush said.
Young, 73, said her comments stemmed from frustration after hearing complaints about Muslims from relatives in Michigan and reading other comments on Facebook.
“It got all balled up and it happened to come out against Muslims,” she said. “I’m very sad that I sounded racist. There are no Muslims that I know that I don’t like. I’m very sorry and I apologize. I don’t want anybody to feel bad. I don’t hate anybody.”
Her offending comments, which she removed from Facebook about two hours after posting, read, “I DON’T WANT TO HEAR THERE ARE GOOD MUSLIMS. … EVERY CITY & BEAUTIFUL UPSCALE NEIGHBORHOOD THEY MOVE INTO THEY TRASH.”
She went on the say the Muslims demand foot baths and prayer rugs in schools, and that husbands have a right to kill wives who remove burkas.
Asked about those comments later, Young said she’d heard or read such things but, “I don’t know what’s true.”
Ayloush said that there was no grounds for killing a woman who removed her burka or headscarf.
“This is the kind of ignorance that is perpetuated through social media,” he said.
He said that some colleges provide prayer rugs and foot baths for ritual cleaning, and defended such practices under the constitutional protections for freedom of religion. He said he was unaware of such provisions in public K-12 schools, but indicated it might be appropriate in some places provided tax dollars didn’t favor one religion over another.
Ayloush praised the response to Young’s comment by Whitaker and Vandermeir, but said Clark of the Trump campaign did not speak out strongly enough.
“It has to be more than, ‘We don’t agree,’” Ayloush said. “It needs condemnation.”
He went on to say that Trump needs to clearly and repeatedly make it clear to his supporters that such behavior is wrong, particularly given his earlier statements.