El Monte Official Urged to Resign After Ban Islam Facebook Post

Veteran local politician Art Barrios claims he meant no harm, and that he misunderstood the post

The planning commissioner of El Monte is under pressure to resign after he wrote a ban on Islam "sounds good" on Facebook.

Veteran local politician Art Barrios claims he meant no harm when he posted a blog entry on his page which was titled "China makes major moves to BAN Islam."

The former mayoral candidate accompanied the post with the comment, "Sounds Good. Maybe the rest of the world can do the same."

Barrios has been tried to explain away his actions Wednesday, saying his words had been misunderstood.

"I made a mistake. I wrote something that I didn't mean to write," the former city councilman said. "I read (the blog post). But I misinterpreted it. I was thinking Islamic terrorists, not the people of Islam, the religion."

The Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called for Barrios to resign from his post on the planning commission, on which he has sat since 2009. If he refuses the request, the body will ask the city council to remove him from the position.

“While Mr. Barrios has the right to his bigoted views, it is unacceptable for a person who holds such views to be in a position of public trust and authority,” CAIR Los Angeles public affairs coordinator Haroon Manjlai said. “Discrimination against building of mosques is widespread and well documented, and therefore it is unacceptable that a planning commissioner of any city, who ought to be fair and neutral, would hold such hateful views."

Barrios has said he sent a letter of apology to CAIR's national office. 

Local residents are unhappy at Barrios' behavior, however.

"Someone who was an elected official in this community represents everyone, and Islamaphobia like that is completely uncalled for," Florencio Briones said.

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