BISMARCK — A North Dakota legislator from Fargo said he is not sure how two posts condemning Islam appeared on his Facebook page.
Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo, said he may have been hacked by political opponents on the night of Monday, Jan. 13. A post shared from Kasper's account reads "The whole world has one common problem[:] Islam." There is no comment from Kasper's account on the post, which was originally shared by Facebook user Mark W. Patton. Kasper has since deleted the post.
Another article shared from the account just seven minutes before said "Minnesota's Twin Cities are lost" to "the Islamic Movement." Kasper said he did not share this post either.
Kasper posted a brief apology Tuesday that explains he did not share the posts. He added that he is "puzzled" by the situation and will change his Facebook password to ensure it does not happen again.
"I did not post that ugly statement on my page. I do not know how it got on my page, but it was not posted by me. I have removed it," Kasper said. "I am not that kind of person. I sincerely apologize to anyone this post offended."
Kasper also mentioned that sharing the posts may have been an attempt by his political opponents to sabotage him.
"There are people out there that will use any tactic to try to negatively impact my reputation," Kasper said. "It is a sad state of politics today."
During an initial interview with Forum News Service, Kasper said he often shares "interesting" posts he finds in his Facebook notifications and offers them to his 4,000 friends without comment, so people can read about the topics and make their own decisions. Kasper's Facebook is private, so only his friends can see his posts.
At the time, Kasper said the post calling Islam a problem may have been "a little harsh" and that he would probably delete it. The longtime state lawmaker said he did not mean to offend anyone, including Muslims living in the Fargo-Moorhead area, and added that he would apologize to those who would find the post offensive.
Blog posts about Islamic extremism from conservative outlets have frequently been shared from Kasper's account. The legislator said he is troubled by acts of terrorism committed by radical extremists.
"The concern I have is the terrorists and what they're doing around the world and here in North Dakota," Kasper said. "I think we have to do a whole lot more on controlling the terrorism that, in most cases, is coming from the Islamic Jihadist terrorists around the world and here in the United States."
In a subsequent call with Forum News Service about 10 minutes later, Kasper said he had not previously recalled which specific posts had been referenced and that he had not shared the posts in question.
Kasper said he's not very tech-savvy and he doesn't know how the posts appeared on his page. The lawmaker said his administrative assistant is the only other person he knows who has access to the account, but "she would never post that."
Kasper has served in the North Dakota House of Representatives since 2001 and announced his bid for reelection last week. Kasper's district includes much of south Fargo along the state border with Minnesota.