Jewish Member Quits Illinois Panel to Protest Nation of Islam Appointee

Nation of Islam committee member calls for inquiry into 'Hollywood Jews' promoting homosexuality.

A Jewish member of the state's hate crimes commission resigned Thursday rather than serve with a Nation of Islam official appointed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration.

"Having a top member of an organization that continues to spew out hate on a regular basis made it impossible for us to continue to serve," said Lonnie Nasatir, who represents the Anti-Defamation League on the 25-member commission.

Richard Hirschhaut, director of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, said he was also strongly considering resigning.

On Wednesday, Blagojevich expressed support for Claudette Marie Muhammad, director of community outreach for the Nation of Islam, a black Muslim group led by the Rev. Louis Farrakhan. But Blagojevich said he did not know he had appointed Muhammad until learning about it from news reports.

Nasatir and Muhammad joined the commission in August. It was created in 1999 to foster education and help implement anti-discrimination laws.

Muhammad recently invited commission members to attend a Farrakhan speech in which he accused "Hollywood Jews" of "promoting lesbianism, homosexuality" and other "filth."

Blagojevich, a Democrat, said Farrakhan's comments are no reason to dismiss Muhammad as long as she believes in the panel's goals.

In a statement Wednesday, Muhammad endorsed "fairness to all people."