(FOX NEWS) The mayor of Syracuse is drawing criticism after appointing a member of the Nation of Islam to fill an opening on the school board, but the follower of firebrand minister Louis Farrakhan vowed to help the community tackle "the whole problem of race."
Mark Muhammad, 54, an assistant professor at nearby Onondaga Community College and adjunct professor at Syracuse University, was tapped by Mayor Stephanie Miner to fill the last nine months of a term won by a board member who moved out of the city. Muhammad is the city’s local representative for the often controversial offshoot of Islam, led by Farrakhan, who has a long history of making anti-Semitic and racist statements.
"Mark is a positive influence on our community and has been for many years,'' Miner said in a prepared statement. "I am confident he will go on to do good work for the children and families of the school district."
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