He’s apologized and removed the message, but many are left with concerns about his fitness in the agency.
David Jennings, a director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, has publicly apologized for sharing using LinkedIn to share a pseudo-joke about Muslim women wearing burqas.
The original image was one of several memes shared on social media by known right-wing and racist U.K politician and businessman Tony Pycroft and reads, “I spent 30 minutes talking to them to learn more about their culture until the barman told me they were umbrellas.”
Jennings added a line when sharing the image saying, “I was trying to use lessons learned from my terrorism mentor Brig Barker. Guess I need more work.”
Per the San Francisco Chronicle, Jennings stated that the shared image was “directed to a former co-worker and instructor in Arab culture and was meant to poke fun at myself and use me as an example to show that everyone can and should keep learning about people from different cultures, including people like me with extensive experience working with different cultures and traditions.”
His apology continued, “I am horrified that the post would be taken as anything other than a dig at myself, but upon further reflection, I understand how it could be interpreted otherwise and am truly sorry.”
“It was not my intention to offend anyone and I hope that the explanation of my intent assuages any hurt the post may have inadvertently caused,” he concluded.
Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in the Bay Area, stated to CNN her lingering concerns about Jennings’ role after both apologizing and removing the controversial image.
“That he did not see the problem with his post until it was pointed out causes me to worry me about his ability to lead and carry out his duties, particularly as they relate to immigrants from Muslim majority countries,” she said.
It wasn’t until the San Francisco Chronicle inquired about the post in question did Jennings or his superiors at the ICE act in removing the post and offering his apology.