A Connecticut prison guard was fired on Tuesday after the discovery of an anti-Muslim meme he posted in 2018 garnered backlash from an Islamic group.
Garner Correctional Institution Warden Amoda Hannah issued Officer Anthony Marlak a termination letter stating that the officer's social media post “undermined the public’s confidence in your ability to function in your position," The Associated Press reported.
“The type of speech posted threatens the safety of staff and inmates who are Muslim,” Hannah wrote, according to the AP. “Your actions violate the standard of conduct for correctional employees and will not be condoned or tolerated.”
Marlak's post reportedly depicted five Muslims with nooses around their necks. It was paired with the caption, “Islamic Wind Chimes.”
The Connecticut Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations called for Marlak to be fired in January of this year after discovering the meme. Chapter chairman Farhan Memon applauded Hannah's Tuesday decision to relieve Marlak of his duties, according to the AP.
“This decision sends exactly the right message that prejudice and bigotry has no place in the Department of Correction,” he told the news outlet. “Marlak’s comments were unacceptable because they suggested that he could be a danger to Muslim inmates.”
Marlak asserted that he had been cleared of wrongdoing two years ago after the department investigated him concerning his post on a Facebook page with the alias name Tony Mint.
“I’m an honorably discharged veteran of the United States military,” he told the AP. “I’ve been threatened and had people come and try to hurt me with weapons at my family’s place of business and now my life has been destroyed. All I know is that I did nothing wrong, I’m going to clear my name and this should never, ever have turned into what it’s turned into.”
In 2018, Marlak admitted that he reposted the meme with the intention of targeting ISIS and not all Muslims.
“It was ISIS — dead ISIS hangin’ from nooses, OK?” he said, according to the AP. “In the military, any red-blooded American, like I’ve told a bunch of people, we just — we don’t like ISIS. They do bad things to our people and I’m anti-ISIS. Not anti-Muslim.”