Warren official resigns after anti-Muslim posts

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
Deliso Kozlowski's repost on Facebook

A Warren official whom the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on to resign for making anti-Muslim comments on social media stepped down Wednesday.

Diane Toni Deliso Kozlowski sent a letter to Warren Mayor James Fouts announcing her resignation from the city's Elected Officials Compensation Commission.

"It was brought to my attention that some things that I posted online were offending people," Deliso Kozlowski said in her letter on Wednesday, which was released by the city of Warren. "I apologize for offending anyone, including Muslims, my post was referring to terrorists, NOT Muslims."

Deliso Kozlowski voluntarily resigned after discussing the outcry with Fouts, the mayor said.

"What she said on Facebook was a misstatement and she recognized her error and reacted accordingly. I appreciate her resignation," he said.

Meanwhile, the city's diversity director has reached out to the imam at the Islamic Organization of North America in Warren and plans to start sensitivity training for commissioners, Fouts said.

"It’s an unfortunate situation, but in the future we want to make sure everybody has proper training and is aware of sensitivity and the importance of diversity, and everything that goes with it," he  said.

Earlier in the day, CAIR-MI said it wanted Fouts and the City Council to remove Deliso Kozlowski. 

“Warren taxpayers, who include Muslims, should not have someone holding such bigoted views determining the salaries of government officials of their city," said Dawud Walid, CAIR-MI's executive director, in a statement. 

Based in Farmington Hills, CAIR-MI is part of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.

Following the resignation announcement, Walid said the organization welcomes "Mayor Fouts showing concern over the anti-Muslim posts by the commission member and we welcome her immediate resignation.

"We would also hope that not only Warren but other cities in the state would do their due diligence and research the views of commission members before appointing them to such positions," he said. "The important this is she is no longer in the position to decide how taxpayer money is used in the community.”

In her letter, Deliso Kozlowski said she understands "terrorists come from all backgrounds and all religions" and that to specifically target Muslims was "wrong."

"I apologize to Muslims who are as much against terrorism as are other religions in the United States," she said. 

Deliso Kozlowski was one of seven members of Warren's Elected Officials Compensation Commission. Members are not paid to serve on the commission.

The commission establishes the salaries of the city's elected officials, including the mayor, city clerk, treasurer and city council members. It meets in odd-numbered years and each member is appointed by the mayor and serves a seven-year term.

In an interview before her resignation was announced, Deliso Kozlowski said she regrets the online remarks, including a repost Tuesday to which she added the comments "ISLAM IS HATE." The post was removed Wednesday afternoon.

"I am very upset right now," she said. "I am truly sorry. I didn't mean what I said. I didn't mean to say what I said. It was just a comment about terrorists. Not everyone is a terrorist. I understand that."

Deliso Kozlowski, 71, an 18-year resident of Warren, said the post was directed at a friend who had made comments about the 9/11 terrorist attack and they were not intended to offend anyone.

CAIR said Deliso Kozlowski has a history of sharing anti-Muslim comments on her personal Facebook page.

The group provided images of a 2015 post that read: "Get them out of our country. there so insulting. send them to the white house they can eat there. with the oter .muslim,"

The previous year, she posted, "NO AMERICAN WOULD HAVE VOTED FOR A MUSLIM..," according to CAIR-MI.

Deliso Kozlowski said she has been under duress due to the loss of family members over the last year.

"Facebook used to be fun but now it's getting to be just nasty," she said. "It should not have been said and I'm very, truly sorry." 


Detroit News Staff Writer Mark Hicks contributed to this report.