LD40 Flashpoint: Sheehan-Willis Letter Refers to ‘Afzal’ Barlas

A potentially ethnically tinged letter penned by Bergen County Republican Organization Vice Chairwoman Jamie H. Sheehan-Willis and the officers of the BCRO has onlookers – starting with the guy invoked in the controversial communique – squirming.

“I hope for the sake of society that that’s not what’s going on here,” said Essex County GOP Chairman Al Barlas.

The missive to party members features a reference to “Afzal Barlas,” the chairman of the Essex County Republican Party and a rival leader to the Paul DiGaetano-led BCRO.

While “Afzal” is Barlas’ legal name, he goes by “Al.”

“It’s my given name,” Barlas said of Afzal. “I’m not ashamed of it. It means ‘better’ and ‘superior’ but no one knows me by that name. What do you hope to gain by it – that I’m the big bad Muslim? But look, if you’re going to play a game, let’s play chess not checkers.”

In her letter, Sheehan-Willis writes, “Last night municipal chairs and BCRO officers met to discuss the use of a new slogan for Republican Candidates.  Unfortunately the slogan ‘Republican for Responsible Government’ was recently purchased by Afzal Barlas, the Essex County Republican Chairman.  The purchase of this slogan was permissible since it had not been renewed with the State of New Jersey since 2010, however, we find the action to be a direct affront to the Bergen County Republican Organization and does not support the efforts for unity.”

The vice chair goes on to urge party members running on the BCRO line to use the organization’s duly incorporated name “Bergen County Republican Organization” as their slogan.
 

 

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