Politician who slammed Ramadan message under fire for slur


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SPRING GROVE, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania politician who apologized for criticizing a church that wished Muslims a "blessed Ramadan" is under fire again — this time for a slur referring to Mexicans on his Twitter page.

Spring Grove school board member Matthew Jansen insisted his Twitter account was hacked and he was not responsible for the slur in a response to an illegal immigration article on Feb. 6.

More than 50 people attended Monday night's school board meeting to demand his resignation, some holding signs reading "Jansen resign now" and "No place for hate."

Jansen acknowledged in February that he might have used the slur previously, but he would never use that language now. He said he's had a change of heart since the uproar over his Muslim criticism last summer. The tweet was deleted shortly after it was posted.

School board president Cindy Huber gave a statement before the public-comment portion of Monday's meeting explaining that the board can't force a member to resign and distancing the board from Jansen's personal social media activity.

After the meeting, Jansen said he will not resign.

Last June, Jansen called St. Paul's United Church of Christ, in Dallastown, to complain about a message on its sign "Wishing a blessed Ramadan to our Muslim neighbors." The Rev. Christopher Rodkey said the caller termed the sign "despicable" and referred to Islam as a "godless" and "pagan" religion. Jansen, who also was an elected delegate to the Republican National Convention, also posted a photo of the sign on social media with the church's phone number.

He apologized for what he called "venting" and later attended a worship service and dined at a Harrisburg mosque.

He told members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community that his remarks were part of a "knee-jerk reaction."

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