Plano Councilman Pens Apology Amid Calls For Resignation

PLANO, TX — A Plano city councilman who came under fire Wednesday for sharing an inflammatory Facebook video with anti-Islam sentiments has issued an apology. The video, which was posted Tuesday night and remained up until just before 2:00 p.m. bore the label "Share if you think Trump should ban Islam in American schools."

Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere Wednesday called for Harrison’s resignation after stating Harrison’s behavior is inconsistent with the city’s equal rights policy, which prohibits discrimination based on religion.

"Mr. Harrison’s conduct is unbefitting of a council member that serves a diverse community and serves the City of Excellence," the mayor said. "I find this post abhorrent."

Tom Harrison, who holds place 7 on the council, shared the post from without comment.

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Here is Harrison’s full apology:

I want to sincerely apologize to the Plano Muslim Community for the unintentional hurt I caused by reposting something on my personal Facebook page that wrongfully implied I am anti-Muslim. My intent on inputting this on my personal Facebook page was to emphasize that Christianity is not the only religion being targeted for exclusion in our public school. It was not meant as a personal attack against the Islamic faith. As a Christian, it is my belief that all should be free to worship as they choose, but we live in a time where any practice of religious expression in public schools is rarely tolerated. My hope is that due to the rightful negative response to my post, that it will spark a renewed discussion about all religions and their place in our public schools. My other regret is that my personal action has reflected poorly on the City of Plano. My action was personal in nature, but I should have remembered this past Monday night’s Council discussion …. none of us are ever truly off duty. None of us are perfect, and we will all be judged one day by the highest authority. Until then, I ask for forgiveness within the community and acceptance of my sincere apology.

The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations also issued a statement calling for Harrison’s censure.

"We call for the censure of Council Member Harrison for promoting this hate-filled and un-American message," said CAIR-DFW Legal Director Nikiya Natale. "Unfortunately, Islamophobic comments from public officials are all too common, and it is important that action be taken to address such bigoted rhetoric."

Some Facebook users came to Harrisons’s defense after he issued the apology.

"You owe no apologies. We do not want Islam taught in our schools," wrote Susie Schertz on Facebook. "You have just as much right to state how you feel whether your on city council or not. To apologize gives the Muslim community to continue (sic) pushing their agenda on our American citizens. This is our country and if they are offended then they need to return to where they came from. Stand true to your belief because if not you and all Americans will stand in jeopardy of America being taken over by what these people planned. Politically correct is not always the best way to go."

Others denounced Harrison’s statement of apology and insisted on his resignation.

"That is not remotely what that video implied, nor did you provide any sort of explanation as you are here about religion in schools, or that Islam is being attacked like Christianity," Katy Agruso wrote in a comment. "You should heed the Mayor’s call and resign. Only then will I, and many others, believe your apology and excuse are truly sincere."

Harrison did not say in his apology if he would resign

Patch’s emails to Harrison remain unanswered.

Lead image via City of Plano, used with permission

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Gracie Hopper