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Muslims angered by e-mail forwarded by Frankfort Township assessor
Chicago Tribune
August 13, 2008,0,7105752.story

By Lolly Bowean

Frankfort Township Assessor Paul Ruff has been asked to apologize to the local Muslim community after he circulated an e-mail with anti-Islamic sentiments, officials said.

Ruff had forwarded the e-mail, which, officials said, claims to be quoting an Australian official but whose origins are unknown.

A copy of the e-mail was not available Wednesday. But Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Chicago, said he was shown a very similar e-mail that has been widely circulated, and residents who've seen both e-mails told Rehab their content was nearly the same.

In the similar e-mail, Rehab said, immigrants are chastised for "diluting sovereignty and our national identity." It goes on to say that residents who don't agree with the Christian motto "In God We Trust" should leave the country, Rehab said.

Ruff did not want to talk in detail about the e-mail Wednesday, but acknowledged he forwarded it to a number of people in June. He said he has scheduled a news conference for next week to explain his actions.

"I'm not going to respond right now," he said.

Ruff said he did not write the e-mail; he just passed it on, just as it was passed on to him.

"Most of the sentiments, not all, I agreed with," he said. "I'm not a racist. I can prove all that and I will. I think this is politically motivated and I think some people are being used."

Rehab said the e-mail was racist and never should have been shared with others.

"It's concerning to say the least, that a public official would promote this sort of vile and loathsome, anti-Muslim and really anti-American material as was included in that e-mail," he said. "Public trust has been breached. It's caused a lot of problems."

On Tuesday night, residents joined religious leaders at a town hall meeting to discuss discrimination against Muslims. The meeting was meant to be non-confrontational, Rehab said. Ruff did not attend, nor has he apologized.

Copyright © 2008 Chicago Tribune

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