Monument to the Texas Rangers and the Texas State Capital on Sept, 5, 2007 in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Scott A. Miller)
Scott A. Miller

Texas protests mark disheartening week for pluralism

When it comes to respecting diversity in a pluralistic society, this was an unusually discouraging week on many fronts, but one story in particular stood out in a disheartening way.
 
This was a week in which we saw a white county official in Virginia refer to a black newspaper reporter as “boy.” It was a week in which a Republican on the Nebraska Board of Education refused to resign after calling President Obama a “half-breed” and railing against “queers and perverts.” It was a week in which South Dakota police identified one of the men accused of pouring beer on and shouting racial slurs at Native American children at a hockey game.
 
And it was a week in which we saw this story out of Texas.
A Republican representative of the Lone Star State had a very specific message for Muslims visiting her office on Texas Muslim Capitol Day: Declare allegiance to the United States and “renounce Islamic terrorist groups.”
 
In recess with the House until Monday, State Rep. Molly White wrote on her Facebook page that she left instructions with her employees on how to greet Muslim visitors. “I did leave an Israeli flag on the reception desk in my office with instructions to staff to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws. We will see how long they stay in my office,” White wrote on Thursday morning.
The local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations specifically organized the Texas Muslim Capitol Day event in Austin yesterday, which brought roughly 100 participants to the Capitol, and which apparently prompted state Rep. Molly White  (R) to be about as insulting as possible to the participating Texans.
 
Elsewhere on the Capitol grounds, Texas Muslims faced more belligerence.
As the Texas Muslim community gathered in Austin on Thursday to meet with state lawmakers, their event was interrupted by hostile protesters.
 
The Texas Tribune reported that numerous people greeted Texas Muslim Capitol Day participants at the steps of the Capitol holding signs with phrases like “Radical Islam is the New Nazi.”
 
And later on Thursday, a protester ran up to the podium during a press conference for the Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and grabbed the microphone. “Islam will never dominate the United States and by the grace of God, it will not dominate Texas,” she yelled.
Michele Richinick’s report added that a group of protesters stood outside the Capitol building in Austin with signs that read, “Radical Islam is the new Nazi,” and “Go home & take Obama with you.”
 

Islam, Racism and Texas

Texas protests mark disheartening week for pluralism