Blago Won't Dump Controversial Hate Crimes Commission Member

March 9, 2006

"Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich says he doesn't want to fan the flames of controversy surrounding his embattled state Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes.

Instead, he says he'll bring together members of various communities to begin the healing process.

Blagojevich says, ""Leaders from the Jewish community, the African American community and the Gay community are going to come together, begin meaningful dialog.""

He adds, ""They're going to give us suggestions and recommendations and ideas on how we can bring people together and bring communities together.""

Blagojevich says he'll keep the current commission as well.

He continued to defend commission member Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad, who is a member of the Nation of Islam, lead by Minister Louis Farrakhan, who's been faulted for making remarks considered anti-Semitic.

Five Jewish members of the commission have resigned recently, rather serve with Muhammad.

The governor says Muhammad should not be blamed for Farrakhan's statements on issues such as race and lifestyles.


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