California: Anti-Muslim bigot gets slap on wrist from GOP

The San Bernardino County Republican Party committee member who made anti-Muslim and anti-Sikh remarks will receive a letter of reprimand from the county GOP but will not be asked to step down from her post.

In the days leading to a March 2 election for California Republican Party leaders, Vera Eyzendooren railed against Harmeet Dhillon, a Sikh woman from San Francisco who was a candidate for state vice chair. Dhillon won.

“I was told by one of Harmeet’s friends that because of her religion, her loyalty is to the Muslim religion,” Eyzendooren wrote in a Facebook post. “So she will defend a Muslim beheading 2 men without any hesitation … She is not a Republican.”

Sikhism is a separate religion from Islam, but Sikhs often are mistaken for Muslims.

The executive committee of the county GOP decided at its meeting Thursday night, March 21, to “give her a letter of reprimand and move on,” said the county party chairman, Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills.

The letter hasn’t been written yet but will discuss how Eyzendooren’s remarks were offensive and reflected poorly on the party, he said. “We’re very inclusive,” he said. “We fight for religious freedom for everyone.”

Eyzendooren, of Upland, was elected to her post in the June GOP primary, so the party does not have the power to remove her from the central committee, Hagman said.

Dhillon said Friday she is “not in a position to second-guess what my colleagues have done. I’m glad they took some action.” But, she added, “One would expect her to consider resigning or at least issuing an apology for the outrageous statements she made, which she has not done.”

Eyzendooren, who also is president of the San Bernardino County Federation of Republican Women, was unavailable for comment Friday. The woman who picked up the phone at a number listed as Eyzendooren’s on GOP and other websites said she was not Eyzendooren and that the number did not belong to Eyzendooren.

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Southern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the group welcomes the reprimand and doesn’t want to tell the party how to discipline Eyzendooren.

But, Ayloush said, “I know what I would have done. I would have asked her to resign. It’s not about the person. It’s not about Ms. Eyzendooren. It’s about sending the message that the Republican Party represents all Americans.”

Press-Enterprise, 22 March 2013