El Monte, Calif., serves as the backdrop for one of the latest clashes between the Council on American-Islamic Relations and outspoken critics of radical Islam. Specifically, CAIR is upset about a Facebook post by city planning commissioner Art Barrios in response to news reports that China is limiting certain forms of religious expression among Muslims.
“Sounds good,” Barrios, a former El Monte councilman, wrote, “maybe the rest of the world should do the same.”
That comment, the Los Angeles Times reports, sparked a quick response from CAIR, which sent an email to the city demanding Barrios apologize and resign from his position.
In an interview with the Times, however, he defended his remark and his right as an American citizen to make it.
”I thought it was about time that we stop kowtowing to the Islam that’s doing the racist things and doing the things that are bad for any religion,” he asserted.
As an American, he insisted, “I have the right to think anything I want to think” and to “do what I want to do.”
By the same token, he acknowledged that CAIR also has “the right to do what they want to do.”
Despite Barrios’ explanation that he was referring only to radicalized practitioners, CAIR of Los Angeles spokesman Haroon Manjlai said any such distinction was unclear. He added that any bias toward a minority group could influence Barrios’ decisions in the future. Nevertheless, the city official is determined to retain his position.
He did, however, subsequently update his Facebook page to explain that the offending post was drafted “hastily” and was meant only to apply to “Islamic extremists of the world and not Islam the religion.”
Should this official step down for sharing his opinion on radical Islam? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.