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The Orange County Human Relations Commission issued a statement Wednesday calling for a “return to civility” in the wake of a controversial February protest outside of a Muslim charity event in Yorba Linda.
Parts of the protest can be seen in a video put together by the Council on American-Islamic Relations that went viral in a matter of days. In the video, hecklers hurl religious epithets at families walking to the event, while, in other scenes, elected officials are praising protesters.
Most of the controversy has centered on comments made by Deborah Pauly, who is a Villa Park councilwoman and the first vice chair of the Orange County Republican Central Committee. Pauly says in the video: “I know quite a few Marines who would be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise.”
Before the statement was released, Rusty Kennedy, executive director of the Human Relations Commission, said community leaders should be careful not to use rhetoric that could stoke the “fringes of our society” into committing hate crimes against people for their ethnic or religious backgrounds.
The protest could have already inspired at least one such hate crime. A few days after the video went viral, Kennedy said, a Muslim woman shopping at a grocery store in Anaheim Hills went back to her car and found a page of the Koran taped to her windshield. The letters “F U” were scrawled on the page. Her car was also keyed.
Kennedy said he didn’t know whether the hate crime and the protest were related, but he noted: “It did come right on the heels of that confrontation between those communities.”
Click here for the statement in its entirety.