Resignation calls grow after NAACP head’s anti-Semitic post


FILE- In this July 20, 2013 file photo, Minister Rodney Muhammad speaks to the crowd during the “Justice for Trayvon” rally, outside the federal courthouse in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania’s governor and attorney general joined the growing number of calls Tuesday, July 28, 2020 for Muhammad, who is Philadelphia’s NAACP president, to resign after he posted an anti-Semitic meme to social media the previous week. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pennsylvania’s governor and attorney general joined the growing number of calls Tuesday for Philadelphia’s NAACP president to resign after he posted an anti-Semitic meme to social media last week.

Philadelphia’s Jewish leaders also expressed outrage over the post and called for Rodney Muhammad’s resignation throughout the weekend. Several city leaders urged him to apologize, while others said it called his leadership into question during a time when the organization’s mission is vital.

Muhammad said in a statement late Monday that he removed the post when he was told the images had previously been distributed by white supremacists.

“I later learned that not only was the quote I used misattributed to the philosopher Francois Voltaire, but in fact, the quote and image had been used previously by white supremacists,” he wrote. “I immediately removed both the quote and the offensive images. It was never my intention to offend anyone or cause any hurt.”

A voicemail for the national spokesman of the NAACP was full Tuesday when The Associated Press tried to contact the organization for comment. A number for Muhammad was not answered Tuesday.

The image posted to Facebook on Thursday included photos of Ice Cube, DeSean Jackson and Nick Cannon, all of whom have been criticized recently for posting or making anti-Semitic comments. Below their photos is an image of a yarmulke-wearing man, using his hand to crush a group of people. It’s accompanied by the wrongly attributed quote.

The Jewish Federation of Philadelphia issued a statement Friday calling for the NAACP to remove Muhammad. The group issued a second statement Tuesday calling Muhammad’s reasoning unacceptable.

“Mr. Muhammad’s statement regarding his anti-Semitic Facebook post is utterly insufficient. Given the chance to apologize for his actions, he declined to do so,” the group wrote in the statement.

In messages on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, both Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro called for Muhammad’s resignation. Shapiro said he had reached out to Muhammad before making his public statement.

“His response to me was offensive and we are all still waiting for that apology,” Shapiro posted to Twitter before calling for Muhammad to step down.

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