Mark Shull under fire for racist, anti-immigrant statements

Clackamas County

Clackamas County resident's blog highlights commissioner's Islamophobic, transphobic comments on Facebook

FILE – Mark Shull (Credit: Pamplin Media Group)

(PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — New Clackamas County Commissioner Mark Shull is in the hot seat after a blog created by a local resident highlighted more than a dozen posts he’s made to his personal Facebook page espousing anti-immigrant, Islamophobic and transphobic sentiments.

The blog “Documenting Mark Shull’s Racism” was created by Cris Waller, a Jennings Lodge resident and Oregon House District 40 leader for the county’s Democratic Party. The website highlights quotes and screenshots of around 20 posts made by Shull during the past two years representing views that Islam and Muslim people are a threat to America, and, on occassion, seemingly calling for violence.

“Stop the enemy while the enemy’s strength is still relatively weak in comparison to friendly forces,” Shull wrote on Nov. 3, 2019. “The most menacing threat to U.S. national security is the incursion of Islam into our society…It is time for a new D-Day, one that is appropriate for the threat.”

On July 30, 2019, Shull said “When you interact with a Muslim, you’re being deceived. Period. End of sentence.”

On Oct. 10, 2019, he wrote “I visited the Mall of America with my mom last year. It was like walking into the Mall of Islam. I think we were the only two non muslims that day. Never got one smile that day from any Muslims … It was a horrifying experience … Not a friendly face in the crowd of Akbars.”

On numerous accounts, Shull makes comments about Congress members Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar being traitors against the United States, and at one point referring to Somalian immigrants as “savages” who “hate the west.”

In April 2020, Shull took aim at the transgender community stating, “If a mentally-ill dude pretends to be a woman, you are required to pretend with him.”

And in June 2020, he made statements attempting to discredit the authenticity of the Black Lives Matter movement, saying that it is “a pawn for the rise of neo Marxism.”

He’s also made several comments harshly critical of American immigration policy. On May 29, 2020, Shull said that “who we allow into our country is one of the most important considerations in maintaining our society.”

“Throughout history, without exception, the only societies that lasted were the societies that were able to control access to their territory,” he wrote. “Many of these new belligerent, non-integrating immigrants do not accept our culture. That is a recipe for pain for us all, especially our children and grandchildren.”

In September 2020, Shull also linked wildfires in rural Clackamas County to disinformation that antifacist activists were to blame.

Pamplin Media Group has independently verified that much of the content appearing on Waller’s blog was originally published by Shull himself. Some posts have been deleted, either by Shull himself or by Facebook for violating its terms of use — Shull himself has posted about the “Facebook police” in some of the posts where he admits his content was removed.

Shull returned calls made by PMG Monday, Jan. 11, in which he admitted that he has posted statements “critical of Islamic doctrine and some of the conflicts that it has in Western society.”

“I can’t tell you right now if I actually said that,” Shull told Pamplin Media Group.

Shull said he would be reviewing his social media and responding with a formal statement Tuesday, Jan. 12, but replied late Monday afternoon with a longer statement: “I apologize for any concerns in the community related to my comments years ago about problems with integration of Islam into western society. I respect the freedom of religion that extends to members of the Islamic community, as well as to all religious beliefs. I will work towards increasing understanding and cooperation amongst all new immigrants to our nation and to our county. I welcome members of the Islam community and I look forward to working with that community in the future. We are all Americans. We all need to be heard and to have our opinions and beliefs respected. I am here as the County Commissioner to serve everyone regardless of race, creed or religion.”

Chair Tootie Smith shared the following statement on Jan. 12:

“I acknowledge the harm and fear that our community members are experiencing as a result of the horrifying statements that were recently revealed from one of our Commissioners.

“I want to assure residents that I in no way condone or agree with these offensive statements. They do not reflect my values. Such statements are an attack on human dignity and have no place in government. Our role as Commissioners is to serve residents, build trust and create a safe and thriving community for all residents. Bigoted statements by elected officials undermine that work and trust.

“Last summer, the Board of County Commissioners passed a Resolution Condemning Violence and Racism against Black/African American and all people of color. This Resolution serves as a call to action for the County to address systemic disparities and ensure that all people can feel safe and thrive in our county. I am in full support of the resolution and of the work of the Equity and Inclusion Office and the value the office brings to our county employees and residents.”

In a statement from the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Oregon, the statewide advocacy group called for Shull’s resignation, saying that it is disappointing an elected official cannot differentiate valid and sourced information from conspiracy theories that in turn jeopardize their own community members.

“These dangerous comments coming from an elected official are not representative of those he’s sworn to serve. There are many Muslim (among the many other identities) residents in this district and they may increasingly suffer the obvious threats to their lives as these ideologies perpetuate,” said Sahar Muranovic, CAIR Oregon board member. “At a time of heightened violence against Black and brown community members and our Muslim community, this rhetoric is reckless and dangerous, as shown by the extremist actions in our nation’s Capitol last week.”

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