A freshman Republican state representative in Texas has attempted to explain why she asked Muslims who visited her legislative office in Austin to declare allegiance to the United States and “renounce Islamic terrorist groups.”
“Hindsight’s 20-20,” Rep. Molly White told The Texas Tribune on Monday about the Facebook status she posted for Texas Muslim Capitol Day on Jan. 29. “I never thought it was going to go viral. And I thought it was just to folks that were in my district. I didn’t know that there [were] fringe groups out there watching every word you say and things you do.” She also said she would have clarified her comments earlier if she could go back in time.
White could not immediately be reached for a follow-up comment by msnbc.
While White was on recess with the House until Monday, she wrote on her Facebook page that she left instructions with her staff on how to greet Muslim visitors. She also posted that “Texans must never allow fringe groups of people to come here so that they can advance their own culture instead of becoming an American and assimilating into the American way of life.”
Within hours, her remarks went viral on Thursday. Three days later, she took to Facebook to thank her followers’ “overwhelming show of support,” and disclose her plans to publish a response to the controversy caused by her comment. Prior to her apology this week, she told a local Fox affiliate that her words were taken out of context.
White told the Tribune that her comments weren’t directed at all Muslims. Rather, she wanted her message to be conveyed to the organizer of Texas Capitol Muslim Day because, she said, the United Arab Emirates has designated the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as a terrorist group.
The local chapter of the organization planned Texas Muslim Capitol Day last Thursday. A State Department spokesman told reporters in November that the U.S. government doesn’t consider CAIR a terrorist group.
The GOP lawmaker said she was concerned specifically with one comment from Houston CAIR executive director Mustafaa Carroll. In 2013, he was quoted saying practicing Muslims are above the law of the land. But, as the Tribune also noted, Carroll’s remark also included context which contradicted White’s claims, in which he said, “Following the law of the land is part of Sharia. And we follow the law of the land.”