An Oklahoma official invoked Martin Luther King Jr. to defend racist and Islamophobic Facebook posts attributed to him, according to KFOR News.
In 2014, in reference to unrest in Ferguson, Mo., County Assessor Larry Stein wrote, “There hasn’t been this great of a racial divide in America since the 1850’s … Congrats to the thugs and animals in Ferguson,” according to the outlet.
In another post, he wrote, “No shirt, no shoes, no service. Which Islamic halal restaurant can I go to and demand they cook a pig for me?”
Stein removed the posts but defended them to the news outlet and invoked his First Amendment rights.
“National radio talk show hosts and many others used the same word to reference the lawless, Ferguson rioters and law breakers. Great thinkers have written, ‘Without laws, men are just animals,’” Stein wrote in a statement to KFOR. “This type of lawless behavior is terrible and the same term would apply to everyone who is lawlessly rioting and destroying personal property, it’s the lack of character, just as Dr. King warned.”
Officials with the Council on American Islamic Relations asked to meet with Stein, but he told them he didn’t have time to sit down with them, according to KFOR.
“I feel our friends at CAIR-OK have misled the media about demanding to meet with me within a certain time frame and also have misled the media and others about my social media posts of several years ago that decried the act of murder by extremists and violent destructive mobs,” Stein told KFOR. “As a Christian, I pray for peace each day.”
“Even though we understand he’s a busy individual, this should be something of a priority, especially in this day in age, when hate rhetoric has an impact on marginalized communities,” CAIR Oklahoma Executive Director Adam Soltani told the station.