Virginia mayor: Refugee comments weren't meant to offend

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A Virginia mayor who's facing backlash for invoking the mass detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II in order to keep Syrian refugees out of the region says he didn't intend to offend anyone.

In a new statement Thursday, Roanoke Mayor David Bowers says his comments were "intended to be respectful, measured and moderate in tone and substance." According to the Roanoke Times ( ), he says he was trying to express concerns about the safety of Americans.

In the original statement Wednesday, Bowers cited the government's internment of Japanese people. He said the threat to America from the Islamic State group "is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then."

Roanoke City Council members said Thursday that they may call on Bowers to resign if he doesn't apologize.

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