Trustee’s Social Media Posts About Muslims Draws Protesters

CHICAGO (CBS) — Activists say Monday’s rally against a Palos Township Trustee is just the beginning, after a string of Facebook posts the group calls anti-Muslim.

The most recent post by Republican Sharon Brannigan reads “What is Palos doing? Why are all our schools filling with Middle Eastern students without proper documentation?” Another from 2015 criticizes the community’s Muslim population for “keeping themselves and their activities hidden” from others, WBBM’s Andy Dahn reports.

Emily Biegel is director and founder of Southwest Suburban Activists, a group that organized the rally.

“It’s not that we’re attacking her right to free speech, but with free speech comes consequences,” Biegel said. “If you’ve been charged with representing your entire township, that includes the ones who’s religion you have such disdain for.”

“I am not anti-Muslim,” Brannigan told CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov Monday night. “I am pro-community and pro-taxpayer.”

Asked if she regretted the social-media postings, she replied: “I regret that they feel it was a slight.”

Critics flooded the township board of trustees meeting Monday night. They are calling for Brannigan to step down and plan to protest until that happens.

“Money will be withheld from the township,” Biegel said. “We will not be spending money in Palos Township. We will not be supporting things in Palos Township if Palos Township and their trustees stand for hate.”

Brannigan has said she has no plans to resign.

A statement she released earlier Monday said: “All statements on my personal pages of social media reflect the observations I have had living in this district for 25 years and in the 3rd congressional district for 55 years. I believe that questioning our government is our responsibility even if the issues at hand are sensitive in nature.”

The rally was held before Monday’s trustee meeting.

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