Group calls on school board member to resign for anti-Muslim comments

Posted: Updated:
TOMS RIVER -

A Toms River Board of Education member is being called on to resign after he made a post on Facebook wishing a Muslim congresswoman would die.

Daniel Leonard posted on Facebook a Fox News article about Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is Muslim, calling for a hunger strike to shut down Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Leonard posted the article with the caption “My life would be complete if she/they die.”

The post was made on April 19. Subsequent posts on Leonard’s Facebook page often contain anti-Democratic, anti-Muslim and anti-Liberal connotations.

The group Muslim Advocates is calling for Leonard's removal, saying, "No individual who is responsible for governing the education of children should ever engage in hate speech, bigoted conspiracy theories and violent, anti-Muslim rhetoric on social media."

The statement continues, "The harmful, ugly content that Daniel Patrick Leonard regularly posts to Facebook exposes him as someone wholly unfit to work with the diverse school children in Toms River and the state of New Jersey."

Leonard responded to the calls to resign on his official re-election campaign Facebook page. He says that he was referring to Tlaib's hunger strike plans in the post.

"If you want to go on a faux politically motivated hunger strike to get media attention while real American children and families go Hungry day in and day out ...... Why should I be concerned or surprised if you die as a result? I mean Team Leonard manages to grab the Headlines with a full belly!" Leonard posted.

Leonard is facing an ethics investigation for sharing the derogatory posts. The school board says that it would take the appropriate action.

Leonard was elected to the school board in 2016. He is seeking re-election in November, although a post on his Facebook page may indicate that he is considering running for Congress.

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