Texas Rep. Molly White was not in Austin for Texas Muslim Capitol Day, but she made sure that her office was still run the way she wants it to be. Among the items on the agenda? She instructed her staff to "ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws."
Texas Muslim Capitol Day was started by the Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in 2003. Muslim residents of Houston and Dallas are brought to Austin to learn about the political process and meet state lawmakers. White was not in attendance this year.
While the group of about 100 Muslims was on their way to the Capitol, protesters met them on the steps holding signs and yelling profanities. One sign read, “Go Home & Take Obama With You.”
The 25 protesters also disrupted the press conference held on the steps of the Capitol. While organizers were preparing, a protester grabbed the microphone and yelled, “Islam will never dominate the United States and by the grace of God, it will never dominate Texas.”
Texas has the eighth largest Muslim population in the United States, with about 420,000 Muslim residents.
Executive director of the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Mustafaa Carroll said the proteters’ actions were “very frustrating.” He claims this is the first year protestors have disrupted the event. However, he also added, “I'm more concerned with state leaders and what they say than I am about anybody else because they are the lawmakers.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations sent a letter to House Speaker Joe Straus asking about potential ethics violations. It read, “Our ethics question is: Has Rep. White violated any House rules in creating such an internal office policy that is selectively being enforced to discriminate against certain religious minorities trying to meet with her or her staff? Are House members prohibited from making constituents take oaths before meeting with their elected representatives or House staff?"
Straus responded with a statement, saying, “Legislators have a responsibility to treat all visitors just as we expect to be treated — with dignity and respect. Anything else reflects poorly on the entire body and distracts from the very important work in front of us."
White had not changed her stance and was sticking by her Facebook post. She wrote, “I do not apologize for my comments. … If you love America, obey our laws and condemn Islamic terrorism, then I embrace you as a fellow American. If not, then I do not."
White has expressed "controversial" views towards Muslims before, writing multiple Facebook posts on the issue in the past.