Muslim Advocates Calls for Removal of NJ Statewide School Boards Association Member for Anti-Muslim Facebook Posts

Official Posted a Death Wish on Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Accusations of Terrorism at Rep.Ilhan Omar

WASHINGTON, DC — Muslim Advocates called for Daniel Patrick Leonard, a member of the Toms River Regional Schools Board of Education and the New Jersey School Boards Association Board of Directors, to resign or be removed from both posts because of his violent, anti-Muslim posts on Facebook, including a post saying his “life would be complete” if Rep. Rashida Tlaib would die, and accusations that Rep. Ilhan Omar is a terrorist, among many others. Today, the board of education will host a public meeting at Toms River High School. Muslim Advocates has also launched a campaign calling on the New Jersey School Boards Association to remove Leonard from his leadership position. Screenshots of many of his posts are linked here. In a statement released today, Muslim Advocates Special Counsel for Anti-Muslim Bigotry Madihha Ahussain said:

“No individual who is responsible for governing the education of children should ever engage in hate speech, bigoted conspiracy theories and violent, anti-Muslim rhetoric on social media. The harmful, ugly content that Daniel Patrick Leonard regularly posts to Facebook exposes him as someone wholly unfit to work with the diverse school children in Toms River and the state of New Jersey. Leonard’s views are completely inconsistent with the New Jersey School Boards Association’s mission to promote the achievement of  ‘all students.’ He should resign or be removed from both offices. We’re asking New Jersey families of all backgrounds to urge the school boards association to remove him from his leadership position.

Hateful, dehumanizing posts on social media like the kind shared by Mr. Leonard have serious consequences. Rep. Ilhan Omar has already received death threats because people ignorantly and maliciously called her a terrorist and associated her with the 9/11 terror attacks—just as Mr. Leonard did in multiple Facebook posts. He also puts Rep. Rashida Tlaib in danger by effectively wishing that she would die. We have reported these posts to Facebook and await their determination if they are in violation of their content policies.

As long as Mr. Leonard continues to serve in his current official roles, we do not have confidence that the children in Toms River Regional Schools district and in New Jersey will be treated fairly, regardless of their faith, or will be safe from bigotry and threats.”

Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.