The US State Department’s nominee to coordinate billions of dollars in United Nations assistance to refugees across the world has expressed extreme anti-Muslim views in social media posts, falsely suggesting that Islam is an inherently violent religion and that Christians should receive preferential treatment when resettling from hostile areas.
The nominee, identified as Ken Issacs, is a vice president of the Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse and has made “disparaging remarks about Muslims” in tweets, social media posts and radio appearances, The Washington Post reported Saturday citing the daily’s review of his public comments.
Following a terrorist attack in London last June, Issacs reposted and commented on a CNN International story that quoted a Catholic bishop as saying “this isn’t in the name of God, this isn’t what the Muslim faith asks people to do.” He then responded to the news item by writing, “CNN, Bishop if you read the Quran you will know ‘this’ is exactly what the Muslim faith instructs the faithful to do.”
The State Department announced Isaacs’ nomination to become director general of the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration, or IOM on Thursday. The 169-member organization has almost $1 billion annual operating budget and for decades has called on the US, one of its top benefactors, to lead the organization, the Post noted.
The Trump administration’s pick, the report added, “could be at risk of being the first US nominee since the late 1960s to lose an election by the group’s voting members.”
“I don’t know the nominee, but I’ve seen some of his statements and they reflect a troubling prejudice that is really incompatible with a position of leadership for the world’s most important international migration agency,” said Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International and a former assistant secretary of state under President Barack Obama.
The Post further quoted Schwartz as saying, “The person who leads this needs to be a symbol of the international community’s support for humanity. And that means that dark-skin people and Muslim people have the same inherent worth as any other people.”
After the Post forwarded a sampling of Issacs’ social media posts to the State Department, along with a request for reaction, “his Twitter account was made private, and the department provided a statement from Isaacs apologizing for his posts.”
“I deeply regret that my comments on social media have caused hurt and have undermined my professional record,” he said in a statement.
The statement further claimed, “It was careless and it has caused concern among those who have expressed faith in my ability to effectively lead IOM. I pledge to hold myself to the highest standards of humanity, human dignity and equality if chosen to lead IOM.”
In a separate statement, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the Trump administration would continue to support the nomination of Isaacs, insisting that he has “a proven record of helping diverse populations around the globe.”
The statement further read, “Mr. Isaacs has apologized for the comments he posted on his private social media account. We believe that was proper for him to do so. Mr. Isaacs is committed to helping refugees and has a long history of assisting those who are suffering. We believe that if chosen to lead IOM, he would treat people fairly and with the dignity and respect they deserve.”