Yesterday was Texas Muslim Capitol Day, a day organized by the Texas chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Texas) for Muslims, especially students, to come to the Capitol, meet with lawmakers, and learn about the democratic process. It was an event designed to highlight the best of Texas–unfortunately it ended up bringing out Texas’ worst.
Muslims arriving at the Capitol, including school children, were greeted by protestors shouting at them about Sharia law and Jesus while holding up signs saying things like “Radical Islam is the New Nazi” and “Go home and take Obama with you.” Some images of the protestors taken by a bystander are below.
Later in the day, CAIR’s press conference was interrupted by a hostile protestor, yelling that “Islam will never dominate the United States and by the grace of God, it will not dominate Texas.” Video below via the Texas Tribune.
(This woman was previously known for starring in viral YouTube video where she meticulously explains how Monster energy drinks are the anti-Christ.)
This all took place outside the Capitol, but unfortunately the welcome was not much warmer once Muslim visitors got inside. Freshman state rep. Molly White (R-Belton) posted the following message on her Facebook page:
Her Facebook also includes a hate-mongering post about how Muslims are bringing Sharia law to Texas.
White’s abhorrent remarks are clearly nothing but xenophobic hatred–she doesn’t make Christians pledge allegiance to America before entering her office, though there have been plenty of radical Christians who have committed acts of violence against the United States (from Cliven Bundy to the man who flew a plane into an Austin IRS office in 2010).
White was swiftly, strongly, and rightly condemned by Texans from across the board.
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa released a statement saying:
- “Bigotry and hatred has no place in Texas. Our Muslim brothers and sisters gathered today at the Capitol to participate in our democracy. It’s shameful they had to face this kind of hateful vitriol from an elected official during their visit.
We ask Republican leadership to denounce the vile and bigoted comments made by Rep. White. Her toxic and divisive rhetoric does not represent the values and principles of our diverse state.”
Rebecca Robertson, Legal & Policy Director of the ACLU of Texas, declared:
- “We’re proud of the way our Muslim brothers and sisters comported themselves at the Texas Capitol today, but we can’t say the same for the representative who targeted them with bigoted comments and insulting demands. The ACLU of Texas fights every day for the fundamental freedoms guaranteed to every American by the First Amendment, and that includes both the right to worship freely and the right to petition elected officials like Rep. Molly White. The idea that anyone would be unwelcome at the State Capitol because of his or her faith is utterly inconsistent with all we hold dear as Americans.”
The condemnation came from both sides of the aisle, with Republican House Speaker Joe Straus posting the following on his Facebook page:
It is heartening to see the positive response in the face of discrimination and hate. But the fact of the matter is that this kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in Texas politics. We should be better than this. We should be better than adults heckling school children because of their faith. Molly White should be better than abusing her elected office to spread misinformation and hate. Texas is home to people from all kinds of backgrounds. The Capitol should be a place where we can come together and strengthen each other, putting forward Texas’ best–instead of its worst.