Minneapolis, MN – Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) issued the following statement today condemning the hateful and anti-Islamic remarks of Jack Whitley, chairman of the Big Stone County Republican Party:
“The JCRC condemns the hateful and anti-Islamic remarks of Jack Whitley, chairman of the Big Stone County Republican Party, who stated that ‘Muslims are terrorists. They don’t belong in this country,’ and went on to claim Muslims ‘either need to repent except [sic] Jesus Chist [sic] or leave the country. … If you want to consider this a call to arms, then so be it.’
“It is tragic that someone who holds a position of leadership would cling to such racist, xenophobic, anti-Islamic, and other bigoted ideas. The Muslim community is an integral part of the diverse and democratic society in Minnesota and we stand in solidarity with them.
“Judaism teaches us that all are created in the Divine’s image and with these beliefs we try to teach our children respect and dignity for all human beings. Such hateful bigotry has no place in our politics or in the public discourse.
“Such hateful rhetoric divides and isolates members of minority communities. Collectively, we reject the stereotypical and hateful labeling of people.
“We applaud Keith Downey, Chairman of Minnesota’s Republican Party, for his condemnation of Mr. Whitley’s ‘outrageous comments’ and we call for Mr. Whitley’s swift removal from his leadership position within local and state politics.”
As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.