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NAACP Will Take Over Philly Chapter After Leader's Anti-Semitic Post

Rodney Muhammad came under fire from elected officials and Jewish groups after sharing the post. He later deleted the post and apologized.

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The head of Philly's NAACP chapter was essentially ousted this week, a month after he shared an anti-Semitic Facebook post that led to calls from multiple elected officials for him to resign.

The NAACP's Philadelphia chapter voted to allow the national organization - based in Baltimore - help with a transition to new leadership, a spokesperson told NBC10. The move leaves embattled chapter president Rodney Muhammad without a role.

The decision was first reported by our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune.

Muhammad, who served since 2014, came under fire in July after sharing an anti-Semitic meme image on Facebook. The image showed a crude caricature of a Jewish man and a quote falsely attributed to a French philosopher.

“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize,” the quote read, below images of the rapper Ice Cube and Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

Weeks earlier, Jackson himself had drawn backlash for his own anti-Semitic social media debacle, when he posted a quote that he believed was from German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Muhammad deleted his Facebook post and later claimed he was trying to "start a dialogue" after three prominent African Americans who faced backlash over anti-Semitic comments or social media posts.

"I immediately removed both the quote and the offensive images. It was never my intention to offend anyone or cause any hurt," Muhammad said in a statement last month. "The NAACP strongly condemns any offensive language or imagery and stands against all forms of hate speech and anti-Semitism."

But his use of the quote - commonly cited among white supremacists and neo-Nazis - drew condemnation from political leaders and Jewish groups.

In a statement, the Anti-Defamation League supported the decision to change the Philly NAACP.

"The NAACP has been a longtime leader and partner in the fight against bigotry, and today's actions honor the organization's storied history and mission.” 

The statement also thanked the friends, politicians, faith leaders and everyone who spoke out against the post over a "challenging" few weeks.

“There is much work to be done to eradicate systemic racism, antisemitism and all forms of bigotry from our society," ADL's statement said. "We look forward to working with the Philadelphia NAACP under its new leadership – and continuing our work with NAACP branches across the region and nationwide – as partners in the fight against hate."

Mayor Jim Kenney, who was among the officials who called for Muhammad to resign, issued a statement late Wednesday.

“The work of the Philadelphia Chapter of the NAACP continues to be very important to our city," Kenney said through a spokesperson. "The organization has our full support as they work to bring healing and unity to the community.”

National NAACP leaders will appoint a new head of the Philly chapter by early September and help in the leadership transition, according to the Tribune.

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