Muslim civil rights org calls on Independence councilman to resign for racist remark

A Muslim civil rights organization says an Independence councilman should step down because of a comment he made during a meeting earlier this week singling out Middle Eastern business owners.

The Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement Wednesday calling on Councilman Curt Dougherty to resign because of the racist remark. Dougherty has not responded to requests for comment.

“This kind of negative stereotyping and racism is completely unbecoming of an elected official and we call for Mr. Dougherty’s immediate resignation,” CAIR-Kansas Board Chair Moussa Elbayoumy said in a statement. “Mr. Dougherty’s bigoted statement shows that he is unable to represent a diverse constituency.”

Dougherty made the comment during a city council meeting Monday. The city council had been discussing an ordinance amending the city code pertaining to medical marijuana facilities.

During that discussion, Dougherty suggested limiting the location of medical marijuana facilities within the city and offered an amendment to the ordinance requiring a special-use permit.

Further on, Dougherty said they already “cap a lot of things” in the city.

“We cap pay day loan business, you know. We had all the talk on that and that’s been really a good thing. We cap pawn shops. That’s worked out. You know, pawn shops, you know, everybody would steal it and pawn it in the middle of the night, so we throttle that back. Tattoo shops. It’s anxious to tattoo a teenager who can live only in the moment.

“Discount smoke shops owned by mostly Middle Easterns who will sell anything out the back door. We’ve limited trash trucks on the streets. We’ve limited firework stands. We have different restrictions on business licenses,” Dougherty said.

Video from the meeting was streamed live and posted on the city’s YouTube channel.

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Kaitlyn Schwers covers breaking news and crime at night for The Kansas City Star. Originally from Willard, Mo., she spent nearly three years reporting in Arkansas and Illinois before returning to Missouri and joining The Star in 2017.