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Maine: Lacrosse coach loses job for criticizing Islam

Freedom of speech, you say? Increasingly not, in the United States: those who dare notice jihad violence and Islamic supremacism are vilified, marginalized, and defamed. When Scott Lees was fired, was truth a criterion? Apparently not. “Facebook post on Muslims costs Fryeburg coach his job,” by Daymond Steer, Conway Daily Sun, March 24, 2015 (thanks to all who sent this in):

FRYEBURG – After four years at the helm of Fryeburg Academy’s boys lacrosse team, Scott Lees of Conway said he was forced by academy officials to resign as head coach after sharing on Facebook an open letter to President Barack Obama that was unflattering to Muslims.

The letter, written by “An American Citizen,” was about Obama’s speech given in Cairo in 2009. In that speech and in another made last month, the president said Islam has long been a part of American history.

In the first part of the letter, it wonders whether anyone has have ever seen a Muslim hospital or heard a Muslim orchestra. The writer goes on to charge that Muslims “are still the largest traffickers in human slavery,” that they were allied with Adolf Hitler in World War II and that they were either pleased with or silent on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The writer adds that the Barbary pirates were Muslims.

“I just thought it was an interesting article,” said Lees, who added he’s a politically minded independent conservative. “I thought it was an interesting letter to President Obama and his current administration who are not paying attention to Israel and focusing on Iran.”

Lees, 48, shared the letter on his personal Facebook page on March 17. Two days later, he was handing in his resignation as Fryeburg Academy’s lacrosse coach. He said that although he was supposed to meet with Head of Schools Erin Mayo and Dean Charlie Tryder on March 19, Athletic Director Sue Thurston told him a decision to fire him had already been made.

According to Lees, a property manager who is married and has two children, said he did not want a firing to go on his record. He asked Thurston if they would consider a letter of resignation.

“I’ve never been fired in my life,” said Lees, who also coaches hockey locally. “I’ve been coaching kids since 1992.”

Mayo said the season will start on time. She said Thurston is looking for coaches and Thurston will provide updates as they become available.

“We’ve got a great team,” said Mayo.

The decision on an interim coach could be made as soon as today, Thurston said.

Regarding the letter that led to his departure as coach, Lees said a friend had emailed it to him, and he posted it to see what people would say. Lees — who has since removed it from his Facebook page — said he did not comment on the letter online and that he meant no disrespect to anyone.

Lees said the post didn’t get much response. No students “liked” the post though it was liked by four adults, one of whom commented on it. “It’s not like it went viral,” said Lees. “It’s not like everyone and their brother saw it.”

But according to Mayo Fryeburg Academy has “a number” of Muslim students as well as students of numerous other faiths.

“We prize each young person we enroll as an individual, and we prize the diversity that they bring,” said Mayo, who pointed to the school’s mission statement, which says that “the Academy believes that a strong school community provides the best conditions for learning and growth. Therefore, we strive to create a supportive school environment that promotes respect, tolerance, and cooperation, and prepares students for responsible citizenship.”

Mayo said the school’s teachers, coaches and other staff need to live up to the mission statement.

Lees said he is not a bigot. In fact, he said that two years ago he invited a former Fryeburg student from New York City named Mohammed Islam to stay at his house for nine days. At the time, Islam had a court date in the area for a minor offense.

“If I had a problem with people who are Muslim, then why would I have allowed a Muslim to stay in my home?” asked Lees.

In a phone interview, Islam, who now attends Drexel University in Pennsylvania, confirmed that his former coach had opened his home to him.

“I never saw him as a bigot,” said Islam, who played under Lees for three years.

When asked of the posting, Islam said he spoke to Lees about it. He didn’t think it should have cost Lees his coaching job. Islam said Lees seems to take issue with Obama’s handling of the Middle East.

“I don’t agree with Scott’s opinion, but that doesn’t make him a bigot,” said Islam….

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