Residents call for suburban trustee to resign after anti-Muslim posts

PALOS HILLS, Ill. -- Suburban residents are calling for the resignation of a township trustee after she wrote posts on social media that are being called “anti-Muslim.”

Hundreds of people came out to a board meeting Monday night to protest Palos Township trustee Sharon Brannigan.

Brannigan has been a township trustee since 2013.

Several people spoke at the meeting and called for her resignation.

The outcry comes after some of her social media posts started to circulate. In one post she asks why are all our schools filling with Middle East students without proper documentation. In another she says Muslims don’t integrate and keep their activities hidden.

“It’s clearly hate speech. It’s clearly racist. It’s clearly anti-Arab and Islamophobic,”  said Hatem Abudayyeh, Executive Director of Arab American Action Network.

But Brannigan says it’s just her opinion.  She says she is not anti-Muslim.  She calls herself “an advocate for the taxpayer.”

She says illegal immigrants are driving up property taxes.

“They are taking services from the taxpayer that is and always has been an issue,” Brannigan told WGN News.

But area Muslims say they are the taxpayers and her Facebook posts were about much more than taxes.  They were about hate.

Brannigan did have some supporters Monday night.

She also gave a brief statement at the beginning of Monday’s meeting.

“I am fully supportive of inviting all hardworking immigrants  who contribute their fair share to our society to our township. Anything less would be un-American,” she said.

But the vast majority of people in the room say they want her out of office and they think the entire board is complicit if they don’t do anything.

Brannigan says she’s not going anywhere.

Some residents say they think Facebook posts like the ones at issue incite violence. Brannigan says she deleted her Facebook account not because she was ashamed of what she said but because she was getting hate mail.