Texas is all over the map when it comes to the treatment of Muslims, whose faith in the practices of Islam has hardly been scratched by the constant onslaught of negativity — especially when devout Muslim and Pakistani immigrant Salman Bhojani was elected to the Euless City Council last year. Sometimes xenophobia doesn’t work out as planned. Sometimes it only makes our very mistakenly perceived enemies all the stronger.
So how did Texas get to this point? Here’s some recent history of anti-Muslim behavior in Texas (and examples of why there’s light at the end of the tunnel).
- Ex-FBI agent John Guandolo wrote up and taught a program called “Understanding the Jihadi Threat to America.” The obviously anti-Muslim activist tried to make a sales pitch to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), which subsequently shut down any chance for law enforcement to take part in the “training.”
According to TCOLE director Kim Vickers: “I and my executive staff agree that not only was the material presented concerning in its overly broad characterization of an entire subset of the population, but it provided no training value for law enforcement attendees.”
Separately, Vickers wrote that she nixed the course because it “paint[ed] an entire religion with an overly broad brush.”
- Last year, a northern Texas council member, Tom Harrison, made a number of anti-Muslim posts on Facebook, asserting that President Trump should ban any Islamic education practices in the public school system.
Subsequently, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and the rest of the council voted to publicly admonish Harrison for making the unwanted commentary. LaRosiliere said: “Mr. Harrison’s conduct is unbefitting a council member to serve our diverse community. I find this Facebook post abhorrent and believe this is a stain on our city and does not represent who we are.”
- In 2017, a mosque in Victoria, Texas was burned to the ground by an arsonist who was later charged with a hate crime. Only two weeks earlier, Texas State Representative Kyle Bierdmann sent out a hate-charged poll to numerous Muslim organizations requesting information about their involvement with, or support for, the Muslim Brotherhood. Bierdmann said the survey would root out “radical Islamic terrorism in Texas.”
Imam Yasir Fazaga of the Islamic Center of Brushy Creek said, “We feel betrayed and singled out and absolutely discriminated against — that’s not what we expect from our elected officials. The best way to overcome all this is to get to know one another. We will not be intimidated by this tactic.”
- Earlier this year the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-DFW) requested that the Denton County Republican Party cancel one of John Guandolo’s extremist rallies and to ignore yet another of his “training” sessions, this one called “What is Islam & What Are Its Declared Objectives?”
This video highlights xenophobia, racism, and ethnic tensions present between home-grown militant groups and the Islamic faith. For mature viewers: