On Thursday, state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, was not in Austin to celebrate Texas Muslim Capitol Day.
Instead, she left her staff directions on how to handle visitors to the Capitol.
"I did leave...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," White said via Facebook. "If they come here and convert to the American way of life I may be more willing to trust. When they come here to advance their way of life, Islam, then no trust there."
This begs the question of what exactly an "American way of life" looks life. It's been a few years since I've taken United States history, but wasn't our country founded upon the idea of freedom — both religious and ideological? It's attitudes like White' s that threaten to impede real progress at the Capitol, not to mention perpetuate the stereotype that Texas government and those who comprise it are stuck in the dark ages. She may represent one extreme opinion in the legislature, but it's an opinion that nonetheless taints the integrity of the representative system as a whole. I am ashamed and embarrassed that this type of behavior still exists.
The sentiment expressed by the executive director of the Houston chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, Mustafaa Carroll, was one of alarm.
"I'm more concerned with state leaders and what they say than I am about anybody else because they are the lawmakers," Carroll said.
At no point during the day was any of the "Muslim extremism" that White alluded to displayed — in fact, participating Muslims sang "The Star Spangled Banner" (talk about a threat to national security) before they were interrupted by protesters yelling, “Islam is a lie!” and “No Sharia here!” Sadly, folks, this isn't an Onion article. This is real life and it's happening in our backyard.
Berkeley is an associate editor.