Coffee County District Attorney General Craig Northcott is facing calls to resign after posting anti-Islam remarks to social media.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced Friday that it was asking for Northcott to resign. The advocacy group also said it was asking the Tennessee Republican Party to “repudiate” Northcott for posting the remarks.
According to screenshots from a Facebook post in April, Northcott stated that it is "no different than being part of the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc. If you support those viewpoints, you are rightly and readily condemned in our society. However, it is now politically incorrect to take a stand against Islam that has the same core of hate."
His post also stated that "their belief system is evil, violent and against God's Truth."
Northcott responded to requests for comment by the Manchester Times and The Tullahoma News Friday afternoon, saying that his resignation "IS NOT going to happen."
"As to the Facebook issue, the point that I was expressing was simply any ideology by whatever name that promotes hate, killing/harming of those who don’t believe in that ideology and/or killing/harming someone due to their physical/genetic characteristic is evil," Northcott stated in an email response to the news outlets. "The wonderful thing about this Country is that our Constitution protects everyone’s God given right to believe whatever they wish and even to express their beliefs through oral and written word. However, if someone acts on their beliefs in a way that violates the criminal laws of Tennessee, they will be held accountable for those actions through our criminal justice system that affords everyone the equal protection of the law and due process.
"I have always believed this and will always believe this. Professionally, this means that I judge each situation based upon its own merits and facts but not on the belief system of the one who committed those acts. I then pursue justice based upon the laws of Tennessee and the actions of the defendant. I have done this in each and every case that I have ever handled as District Attorney and will continue to do so as long as I maintain this job.
"As to CAIR’s asking for my resignation, simply put, that IS NOT going to happen. I have no reason to do so. I will continue to serve this community to the best of my ability so long as the Lord and the citizens of the 14th Judicial District provide me with that opportunity."
Since CAIR went public with its call for Northcott to resign, news spread quickly around the country with an Associated Press version of the story being picked up by The News York Times and Miami Herald, among others.
Northcott, a republican, won a tough-fought election against longtime incumbent Mickey Layne in 2014 to take over as DA in the state's 14th judicial district.