PLANO -- Plano city councilman Tim Harrison was in hot water for sharing an Islamophobic post on Facebook Tuesday night.
Harrison shared a video titled "Share if you think Trump should ban Islam in American schools" and left it on his page for nearly 16 hours before taking it down--shortly before Plano mayor Harry LaRosiliere held a press conference calling for Harrison to resign immediately.
"Mr. Harrison's position indicates he is unfit to represent this richly-diverse city," said LaRosiliere, who added numerous messages sent to Harrison had gone unanswered.
Harrison may be forced to respond Thursday night when Plano holds its State of the City event, and a growing contingent of angry constituents is planning to attend to demand answers. If he does not resign, a recall election may take place.
"The Muslim community in Plano is strong and registered to vote," says resident Noor Wadi. "We'll be ready to vote him out."
The Muslim community has grown accustomed to Islamophobic attacks but says its religion is actually a peaceful one and should not be confused with the violent Muslim extremists that makes headlines. Nikiya Natale, a legal director for the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, wishes those who don't actually know anything Islam would take the time to learn before sharing misconceptions.
"We are more than happy to have a conversation, to open up a dialogue, and to spread truth."
Harrison took to Facebook Wednesday night to apologize, saying:
"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 fre...e 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."
Regardless of how the Harrison situation plays out, Plano residents who attended the mayor's press conference want everyone to know they think Harrison's action is just plain wrong.
"Plano might lean a little more red, but we're not ruby-red," claims Kyle Phillips. "That's not how we deal with people here. We are a very inclusive city."