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Government

Sedgwick Co. Commissioner Peterjohn Issues Public Warning Over 'Islamist Threat'

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Updated Thursday at 4:35 p.m. with response from CAIR-Kansas.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn used the last part of today’s commission meeting to offer a warning to residents: That Muslims are a threat, and residents should, he says, “be prepared.”

Peterjohn https://youtu.be/PQDYGnJ0GF0?t=1h55m49s" target="_blank">began his comments saying that he was going to be politically incorrect. He referred to "Muslim atrocities"--including the recent bombing of a Russian plane over Egypt and the attacks in Paris--not drawing a line between Muslims and ISIS terrorists.

"The enemy is not at our gates. The Islamist threat in this country is inside our gates," he said. "Someone said, 'Well, these are random acts.' Well, sorry, these are not random acts."

He had a prepared slide show displaying a series of pictures of people who have "Muhammad" in their names--a reference to the Islamic prophet--and crimes attached to their reputations. He also cited the would-be bomber at the then-Midcontinent airport , which he said people have forgotten about. He also took a stab at President Barack Obama.

"Unlike the president, my father was Christian, not Muslim. I did not have a Muslim stepfather or was educated at a Muslim school overseas," Peterjohn said.

Afterward Chairman Richard Ranzau said that one commissioner didn’t want to listen and left the meeting: Commissioner Tim Norton's seat was empty.

CAIR-Kansas, the local branch of the country's largest Muslim advocacy organization, responded to Peterjohn's comments Thursday, saying his "inflammatory remarks add to the increasingly Islamophobic atmosphere in American society." The group called on state and local leaders to repudiate Peterjohn's "bigoted and Islamophobic views."

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Aileen LeBlanc is news director at KMUW. Follow her on Twitter @Aileen_LeBlanc.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.