Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore and Howard County Republican Party Chairwoman Jamie Bolser have condemned recently-unearthed Facebook posts made in 2015 by a Kokomo city councilman, calling them “extremely disturbing” and “reprehensible.”
The pair were responding to the emergence of comments made by Councilman Greg Jones, R-4th District, that included him calling Muslims “Goat-Humpers” and referring to Islam as “a Theocratic Moon Cult.”
Moore said he has not talked to Jones and will support the position of the local Republican Party regarding Jones’ status on the council.
That position, however, is so far unclear.
“The comments on social media by Councilman Greg Jones made almost four years ago are extremely disturbing and do not reflect the views of the Kokomo Common Council or this administration,” said Moore in a statement provided to the Tribune.
“Councilman Jones indicates that his views have evolved and he no longer holds those beliefs. As someone who believes in the power of repentance and redemption, I encourage Mr. Jones to make amends by reaching out to the local Islamic community and LGBTQ community — face-to-face — as well as to all his constituents in the 4th District in order to listen to their concerns, share his views and apologies, and work toward a productive and meaningful reconciliation.”
Bolser, meanwhile, said Jones’ comments “do not represent our party’s beliefs and ideologies.”
“We were unaware of his comments from 2015. His disparaging comments are not only unacceptable but are reprehensible and unwarranted,” she noted.
“Comments like this from anyone are not and should not be tolerated.”
Bolser has not responded to questions about whether the Republican Party will continue to support Jones or request his resignation.
The Kokomo Common Council held its first full meeting of the year Monday – a reorganization meeting was held Jan. 6 – although the controversy was not publicly addressed.
Jones, who received an appointment to the Howard County Recycling District Board, was in attendance Monday just hours after the story broke online.
The Tribune was first tipped off Monday to a post from Jones made on June 11, 2015. His comment came above a story from www.conservativeinfidel.com titled “FILTHY MUSLIM SUPREMACISTS Get Payoff From Empire State Bui…”; the rest of the headline is obscured, and the link is now dead.
“Islam is not a Religion it is a Theocratic Moon Cult,” wrote Jones on his private Facebook page.
“We should not give anything, especially the right to enforce their laws, to these 7th Century Goat-Humpers who have not figured out it is the 21st century.”
While the specific link shared by Jones is now dead, a Google search of the available headline shows the same story was shared across various anti-Islam corners of the Internet.
An existing copy of the story focuses on a 2013 incident on the Empire State Building’s observation deck, where a Muslim family attempted to recite evening prayers before two security guards physically intervened to stop them. A lawsuit was later settled for an undisclosed amount.
Multiple websites that printed the story shared by Jones also printed personal information about the family, including contact information and their home address.
At other times in 2015 Jones exhibited a bevy of anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ beliefs on Facebook that included him calling homosexuality “a crime against nature.” He told the Tribune in an interview Monday that he has evolved and no longer espouses his previous opinions.
It appeared as of Tuesday afternoon that Jones had deleted his Facebook page.
The Howard County Democratic Party, meanwhile, reached out to its supporters in an email early Tuesday morning, saying Democrats “must unify to fight back at every opportunity” following the release of Jones’ comments.
The email asked people to attend the party’s monthly meeting Tuesday to write letters to the editor and speak out “about how this kind of hate WILL NOT be tolerated in our community.”
“It certainly gives us pause if one of our local elected officials feels so hateful towards a group of people with different beliefs than him,” wrote Democratic Party Chairwoman Dara Johnson.
“From experience as a Common Council member, I know how important it is to ensure you’re open and accessible to constituents; I can’t imaging (sic) how our Muslim citizens, LGBTQ+ citizens or any citizens, for that matter, feel comfortable approaching Councillor Jones after reading his true feelings about them.”
Johnson, who replaced at-large councilman Steve Whikehart following his resignation in May 2019 and served the remainder of the year, became the Democratic Party’s chairwoman at a caucus Thursday evening, Jan. 9.
“We all know men like this, people like this, don’t change. They just get better at hiding it on social media. His behavior is disgusting, and it breaks my heart for our community. He owes us all an apology,” she added.
Johnson called on officials “who endorsed his beliefs – ran with him locked arm-in-arm” to “rise up and speak out.”
“If not, silence will be their continued endorsement of such a horrific view.”