Edison School Board member Mohin Patel apologized for anti-Muslim Facebook posts reported by the New Jersey Globe.
“I would like to humbly and with the utmost humility apologize for political posts I reshared back in 2016 that were considered controversial and hurtful,” Patel said in an open letter to Edison’s Muslim residents. “Back then, many events in other corners of the world were riling up sentiments and polarizing local communities and longtime friends alike, which led to people here picking sides and commenting on international affairs across the planet that they had no direct control over other than to observe from thousands of miles away. Regrettably, I too fell into that trap.”
He added that he regrets making the posts.
Patel shared on Facebook a picture of a bonfire adorned with photographs of five individuals and the star and crescent of Islam.
“Happy Holi, although a few more are missing in that pill (sic) like Kejrivalve, barkha and India Today jurnos!!” Patel wrote in the post, apparently referring to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Indian news anchor Barkha Dutt.
A separate post featured a comic that showed a Muslim man asking a Buddhist monk “why do you pray to a rock” before showing the man praying to the Kaaba in Mecca.
“My friends and mentors in the Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, and other communities have over the years shown me more constructive ways to engage in dialogues, and I thank them for it,” Patel said in the letter. “Over the last few years, I have done a lot of growing and maturing, and I have a much more nuanced worldview than I did then. I have learned that the Quran, much like my own holy books, preaches forgiveness. And I humbly ask for your forgiveness.”
The leader of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ New Jersey branch accepted the school board member’s penitence.
“We welcome Mr. Patel’s apology letter for his anti-Muslim Facebook posts. Such postings should never be tolerated from local leaders,” CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said. “Edison is a rich and diverse community, and its leaders should work to create an inclusive environment welcoming of its Muslim residents.”
Maksut added a call for an investigation into a racist 2017 Edison campaign mailer that urged residents to “Make Edison Great Again” and warned “the Chinese and Indians are taking over our town.”