US Hate crimes panel members resign over Nation of Islam official
Two Jewish members of the State's Hate Crimes Commission have resigned, rather than serve with a Nation of Islam official appointed by the governor's administration.Updated: Mar 03, 2006 11:31 IST
Two Jewish members of the State's Hate Crimes Commission have resigned, rather than serve with a Nation of Islam official appointed by the governor's administration.
"Having a top member of an organization that continues to spew out hate on a regular basis made it impossible for us to continue to serve," said Lonnie Nasatir, who represents the Anti-Defamation League on the commission.
Later on, Richard Hirschhaut, director of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, also resigned.
Governor Rod Blagojevich replaced Nasatir with Democratic Lou Lang, who is Jewish and has criticized Blagojevich's handling of the issue.
The governor's office did not comment further on Nasatir's resignation and did not return phone calls seeking comment on Hirschhaut's.
On Wednesday, Blagojevich expressed support for Claudette Marie Muhammad, director of community outreach for the militant black group the Nation of Islam, led by the Rev. Louis Farrakhan.
But Blagojevich said he did not know he had appointed Muhammad until learning about it from news reports, and wished his staff had discussed it with him.
Nasatirand Muhammad joined the commission in August. It was created in 1999 to foster education and help implement anti-discrimination laws.
Muhammad recently invited commission members to attend a Farrakhan speech in which he accused "Hollywood Jews" of "promoting lesbianism, homosexuality" and other "filth."
Blagojevich, a Democrat, said Farrakhan's comments are no reason to dismiss Muhammad as long as she believes in the panel's goals.
In a statement Wednesday, Muhammad endorsed "fairness to all people."
First Published: Mar 03, 2006 11:31 IST