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After 18 months, Palos Township trustee refuses to bow to Arab Community’s demands

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PALOS HILLS – The Facebook comments of a township trustee 18 months ago riled Chicago's southwest suburban Muslim community into demanding that trustee resign, but she has refused to step down. Since then, representatives from Chicago's southwest suburban Arab community have successfully stopped the township board from conducting public meetings.

When Hindu-American Hermant Patel learned about the continuous meeting disruptions, he gathered together friends that drove with him from Chicago's northwest suburbs to support Palos Township Trustee Sharon Brannigan.

On December 10th, when Patel and friends arrived at the meeting, representatives from the Arab Community of the South West Suburbs took over, including sitting in the trustees' board seats. Patel used his phone to video what went on, including his own reactions, "We support Sharon – we support democracy!"

“Believe me my friends, what we saw last night in Palos Hills is unforgettable," Patel wrote on a YouTube description of his clips. "Such an insult to our democracy. The disrespect that the protesters have demonstrated is beyond belief. Their behavior is a flashing neon sign for every American citizen to become aware. There is not even a glimpse of civil discourse.”

And as the YouTube shows, while seated up in township officials’ seats, the protestors "continued screaming, clapping, and demanding the resignation of one trustee, Sharon Brannigan. They forced these elected officials to leave without meeting," Patel wrote.

Patel writes that the "harassment, agitation, and disruption started after trustee Sharon Brannigan’s Facebook comment on how illegal and undocumented immigrants impact our own community tax dollars. She apologized for using certain words (like Muslim, Middle East etc.) and certain remarks! However, the mob activity has never stopped in last 17 months."

Brannigan's Facebook comment that stirred the Arab Community of the South West Suburbs' protests said, “Why are all our schools filling with Middle East students without proper documentation?” Earlier, Brannigan agreed on Facebook with First Lady Melania Trump's decision not to wear a head covering while visiting Saudi Arabia in 2017. 

The Muslim population in Chicago's southwest suburbs has grown exponentially over the past decade – with some estimates now as high as 25 percent of the 3rd Congressional District's population. 

An opinion writer for the protest group called for Brannigan's resignation on the Leftist website "In These Times" in March:

We use the term “hate speech” to describe these posts because Brannigan's comments clearly single out Arab and Muslim communities, based on race, religion and place of origin. We also use “racism” because Brannigan holds a position of structural power, so her bigotry and prejudice can have material consequences on people’s lives.

The protestors continue to demand Brannigan's resignation, and have stepped up the pressure, with protests and pickets outside her  florist business and following Brannigan and her husband to her car after the November township meeting. In order to leave the parking lot safely, Brannigan called local law enforcement for help. She now feels compelled to wear a body camera in case of any further harassment. 

Patel wrote about the December 10th outburst: "Unlike some other parts of the world, the protesters have every right to do a peaceful protest, they have freedom of speech, however, not by taking over elected officials’ seats, shutting down the meetings, disrupting, harassing officials, and creating mob alike hostile environment where others are afraid to attend meetings."

Brannigan told Illinois Review she appreciates the newfound support from beyond Palos Township's boundaries.

"There have always been some supporters who have come to the General Board meetings at Palos Township, but those supporters have been quietly and respectfully listening to the ridiculous demands and rants of the protesters," Brannigan wrote in an email. "Residents of the township have been silently letting me know that they are there standing with me. I have never asked supporters to attend because of the volatile behavior of the protesters. The protesters (most of whom don’t even live in the township) scream, throw tantrums, call people horrible names, video everything, and try to provoke people."

A small local newspaper wrote about the November parking lot confrontation, and Patel's group – of Hindu and Indian descent – told Brannigan they recognized the behavior as what they've seen on the India/Pakistan border.
 
"I am grateful for the information and experiences that my supporters have shared with me," Brannigan said. "I think I can safely say that we, in the United States, are not used to the mob/Marxist behavior and mentality that has been demonstrated by the new left Democrat Socialist party of Illinois and the United States. It is on full display here. The protesters do not adhere to our rule of law or our beloved Constitution. Not one elected official Democrat of Illinois has condemned the protesters behavior. That says a lot!"
 
Brannigan said she's an "American woman grateful to all those that came before me who have fought in wars around the world protecting the Constitution and our way of life."
 
"Let me be clear… I would never turn my back on that!" she said. "We can learn a lot from my supporters and their experiences from their original homelands… if only we could have the courage to listen and take a look around."
 
Brannigan said she's made herself available to meet with the protest leaders, in particular, Basaam Kawar, the leader of the Chicago chapter of Take On Hate.
 
"We (the entire Township Board) have been shut down at every turn. The only solution the protesters demand is my resignation and unfortunately for them, that’s not an option," she said. 
 
The next Palos Township Board meeting is scheduled for February 11th. 

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21 COMMENTS

  1. It just occurs to me in Saudi Arabia, women just recently were given permission by the King to drive and vote. So, I think I see what the problem is since the trustee being pilloried is a woman. The Islamic religion oppresses women and all Arabs are Muslim, no other religion is allowed

  2. You go into these countries, get involved in their problems and warswars, import them then they destroy America.
    Thank you Bush 1 & 2 for making a bad situation even worse. And destroying the Republican Party as well.
    Remember when Gerald Ford fought so hard to get a million Vietnamese into this country?

  3. So WHY weren’t the police called to remove those that stood in the way of an official city meeting?? If anyone else did this they would have been arrested. If the city allows this to happen then you deserve the abuse. Stand up to these people.

  4. This is unbelievable what has happened to you,Sharon. According to what you said, as related in the article, you said nothing but the truth,and for this you are being harassed,threatened and even asked to resign your position.
    How is that the protesters are permitted to get inside the meeting place. Are the police and other community leaders so afraid of offending the Muslim community that they can’t come to your defense and keep the protesters away from you?
    It is scary, indeed, how CAIR and other Muslim groups are trying to convince the American people that Islam is a peaceful religion. Islam is also not compatible with our Constitution.
    The protestors cannot be given the license to keep trying to control others just because they found offensive something you said. So they have Freedom of Speech to protest your remarks, but you’re not permitted the same freedom to speak the truth about them? This must stop, Sharon. Hold your ground!

  5. This is what happens when you don’t vet people you bring to our country and common sense tells you that Islamists bent on sharia law and using vile tactics they use in their own countries will clash with American democratic republic and our Constitution which is based on Judeo-Christian values & concepts. Islamists are the racists.

  6. Prime example of total dis respect to the U.S. tradition, values, and beliefs! They came to America and if they prefer their ways of life, they should return to their homelands to live as they desire! If they choose to live in America,assimilate or leave. This country became the great country it is through our traditions, values, and beliefs and should never change for the demands of foreigners entering the U.S.! If their way of life is so valued to them, why would they ever flee their home lands? THESE TAKE OVER ATTEMPTS HAVE TO BE ADDRESSED AND ENDED. IMMIGRANTS TO THE U.S. MUST RESPECT THIS PROUD AND GREAT COUNTRY!

  7. Most of arabs are ruled by dictators and kings. They are not exposed to open democratic societies. It will take them a long time to learn to respect our traditions, values and constitution and how to behave in civic engagements. What I saw in this video is terrible. I dont understand how police can be a mute spectator.

  8. The single most important issue going forward is immigration and visa reform. If this goes unchecked we won’t have any other issue to worry about because our Constitution, Bill of Rights and America will cease to exist.
    Democrat socialists rule this state and that MUST change.

  9. In this instance it is the township board meeting which would be taking place in the municipality of Palos Hills. If the Muslim population of the 3rd Congressional District is indeed pushing 25%, the Muslim population of Palos Hills, while undoubtedly a minority, is a good bit higher. Still, any tendency to disrupt lawfully conducted meetings should have been addressed firmly within the letter of the law. If those who are intent on disrupting these meetings are using Trustee Brannigan’s totally legitimate questions as an excuse to create disruptions preliminary to efforts to have an undue influence in the near future on the township’s operations, legally via the electoral process or otherwise, refusal to enforce the existing laws as diplomatically and politely as possible is a HUGE mistake, whether on the part of the township board, the Palos Hills police department, the Cook County Sheriff, the City of Palos Hills political leadership, the Cook County States Attorney, or the Cook County Board.
    Our nation’s laws appropriately enforced do not invite immigrant people who are intent on taking over their new community, whether via a new form of civil law or a religious law designed to displace the civil laws of our existing society, to enter the country. Indeed it is my understanding some laws have been passed as recently as the decade after World War II specifically excluding WHOLE PEOPLES seeking to immigrate to the U.S. who maintained allegiance to civil authorities or religions antithetical to the U.S. Constitution and the legal system developed pursuant to that constitution.
    If the United States or the State of Illinois and its various county, township, and municipal governments refuse to enforce legitimate laws it won’t take fleets of stealth aircraft or an armada traveling on the Great Lakes or the Mississippi River all the way to the Heartland to mount an INVASION of this country and this state.

  10. Unacceptable! We still have free speech and what Sharon said is not out of line. It’s a shame that a few from a minority group can cause so much hate and dissension. Curiously would these disruptions, threats and outbursts be accepted in their homelands if we were the ones protesting. Bet not! People come to our great country to assimilate not try to turn this country into whatever dictatorship they left. 25% of a bunch of jackasses should not have more say than the majority. Palos police please do your job and stop the harassment.

  11. Hang in there Sharon!
    What is wrong with Police allowing this disruption to continue!
    Those causing the problem should be arrested immediately and charged.
    Democracy does not give one person the right to disrupt public meetings. Elected officials need to be protected from this nonsense. Why do the protestors believe we should be following their lead. They should be made to follow our established laws and protocols. They won’t be happy until we all follow their dictate. Wake up Americans….we need to fight back as Sharon has done.

  12. Seems to me the Chief of Police needs to be fired. I’m certain that it was his orders that prevented his men from acting. Second, once that man is ousted the police in attendance need to protect the law and those abiding by it and any officer who refuses to do his duty should be immediately fired. Third, it is a sad fact that in America most people could care less about local elections, and meetings of boards. They just want to stay home and watch YouTube. Meanwhile this evil minority of Muslims feels they can easily take over an elected body with the use of force and intimidation. So until more Americans are inclined to not be silent but to show up and stand up, this problem is only going to grow worse. Finally, radical leftism needs to be completely eliminated and that means eliminating those that support it and promote it – by what ever means necessary. Even more evil than radical Islam is radical leftism because it pretends to be something its not. Its like a stealthy cancer. We elected people to office that created this problem, now we need to clean it up without them. If that means a civil war, then so be it.