Demonstrators want Plano councilman removed over anti-Islam social media post

Demonstrators in Plano on Thursday called for the removal of city council member Tom Harrison over a controversial social media post about Islam.   

On Tuesday night, Harrison shared a post from another page on Facebook suggesting President Trump should ban Islam in schools. Harrison apologized, but the mayor had already called for his resignation as well.

Some demonstrators were outside the building where the Plano mayor gave his state of the city address. Inside, there were boos as video of Harrison flashed across the stage in a pre-produced video played.

Harrison shared a video from a page called Joined Hands Across America For Trump. The post said "Share if you think Trump should ban Islam in American schools" but has since been deleted.

The mayor addressed the controversy before getting into the rest of the evening.

“It was inappropriate because it was not in line with who we are and we want to make sure that if you're in Plano, you feel that you belong. And so that must be embodied by the privileged eight that sit on that council chamber,” said Mayor Harry LaRosiliere to applause.

Signs were not allowed inside the auditorium for the evening, but demonstrators made their feelings about Harrison's post known.

“I was revolted, I was thoroughly shocked and disgusted,” said resident Betsy Friauf.

Plano resident Asad Shalami said Harrison’s anti-Islam feelings were not acceptable.

“We shouldn't have elected officials in office that espouses hatred towards minority groups,” Shalami said.

Harrison has apologized on Facebook, saying in part, "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."

Allan Samara, who runs the community group Smart Plano Future says there are there are political motivations behind the attacks on Harrison.

“What really is going on here in the background, the mayor would like to turn the city council into a more urbanized environment and away from a suburban environment,” Samara said.

The group ran a slate of candidates in the most recent Plano municipal elections and tried to defeat LaRosiliere, but failed.

Samar said he ultimately believed Harrison was sorry for the post.

“I know if he were here, he would say he was sorry to have done it and he apologized rather forthrightly for it,” Samara said.

The Plano city council has called a special meeting Sunday at noon to seek legal advice and discuss Harrison's position on the council. Harrison can be recalled if a petition is filed with enough signatures from verified voters.

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