A Coffee County Commissioner is under fire for a Facebook image he posted on Saturday.
Commissioner Barry West of Manchester shared an image of a man holding a gun with the words “How to Wink at a Muslim.”
There are fewer than 50 Muslims in Coffee County, said Sabina Mohyuddin, a Nashville native who moved to Coffee County in 2002. She said in a USA Today and Tennessean report that West’s post was uncharacteristic of the county, although she senses some residents are disturbed when they see people different from themselves.
In the same report Daniel Tutt, an Episcopalian interfaith activist and a research fellow at the nonprofit Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington, says the best thing West can do is apologize publicly and meet privately with Coffee County Muslims in an effort to understand them better.
Coffee County Mayor David Pennington says that as far as he knows no law has been broken, and he can’t take any action because of a post on West’s personal Facebook page.
West said in an exclusive interview with WMSR that he shared the post as a joke but now understands that it was wrong and sincerely apologizes to those he offended.
West says, “I will study and talk with those of the Muslim faith to learn more about their beliefs.”