Toms River school board member won't resign over posts on 2 Muslim reps, Islam

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TOMS RIVER -

An Ocean County school board member is refusing to resign or apologize for social media posts disparaging two Muslim congresswomen and Islam.

Daniel Leonard said at a Toms River school board meeting Wednesday he has a right to free speech as over a dozen speakers chastised him for his personal Facebook posts.

In a post about Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib urging a hunger strike over U.S. treatment of migrants, he wrote: "my life would be complete if she/they die." In another post he described Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, also a Muslim, as a terrorist.

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

He also shared a derogatory meme with an image of a bruised "Sharia Barbie' doll in a headscarf.

Leonard did say that he would watch what he posted online in the future.

“Sadly, my personal posts have obviously impacted the district and I will be more cautious going forward,” Leonard wrote on Facebook.

Leonard was elected in 2016 and is seeking re-election this year.

He thanked his supporters on his official reelection Facebook page.

“I will continue our fight against false narratives and out of context mischaracterizations of my posts,” he wrote, while also calling on Rep. Tlaib and Rep. Omar to resign for comments they have made in the past.

Leonard said he opposes "Sharia law," not Muslims.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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