On Texas Muslim Capitol Day, an annual event in Austin, freshman legislator Molly White was in her home district. But she left left word with her staff that any Muslim visitors to her office were to be asked to renounce terrorism and pledge allegiance to the United States. And she left a Israeli flag on her desk as well.
In fact, Mediaite reported Jan. 29, Molly White boasted about her plans on Facebook. “Today is Texas Muslim Capital Day in Austin,” she wrote. “The House is in recess until Monday. Most Members including myself are back in District. 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.”
One wonders if she asks Baptists to renounce Christian militia groups? Perhaps she gets them to pledge allegiance to the nation as the price of entrance into her office in Austin? But even if she does not, it should be noted that Muslims that actually gathered at the Texas capitol building for the day’s speeches sung the “Star Spangled Banner” — the entire time having to weather the shouts of protesters hurling catcalls, slurs, and hateful slogans (such as “Islam is a lie.”). There were also signs, according to the Texas Tribune, declaring “Radical Islam is the New Nazi” and “Go Home & Take Obama With You.”
Mustafaa Carroll, the executive director of the Houston chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, referred to the group’s behavior as “very frustrating.” Carroll said protesters had never shown up on Muslim Capitol Day before.
Still, state representative Molly White’s nativist chauvinism received some negative blowback. And, of course, there were those who supported her intolerance.
White later sent Mediaite this statement: “I welcome all of my constituents who would like to come and visit our office in the Texas State Capitol. As law abiding American citizens, we all have the privilege and the right to freedom of speech granted to us by the First amendment, and believe fully in the democracy that our nation is founded upon. As a proud Texan and American I fully denounce all terrorist groups or organizations who’s intent is to hurt and destroy the great state of Texas and our Nation.”
White was quick to hide behind freedom of speech and rights afforded her in the Constitution of the U. S. while she assumed the worst of those practicing a different religion. In fact, while being magnanimously inclusive about all having the freedom of speech, White conveniently left out that all those same people (her constituents and the millions of other Americans) were free to practice whatever religion they desired. She was also quick to wrap herself in the flag of patriotism and play the fear-mongering card (the one that foretells always-impending doom and destruction upon this great land of ours).
But what is most disturbing about White’s antagonistic stance towards Muslims (most likely people she doesn’t know and who have the right to keep their own counsel) is that she demands their renunciation as if it is a given that they are terrorist sympathizers. And then to purposely place an Israeli flag on her desk? For what? To stir up thoughts of the Arab-Israeli or Palestinian-Israeli tensions? And why assume that American Muslims would care about Israel at all? Such petty manipulations seem ill-conceived and born of ignorant prejudices.
Mustafaa Carroll probably summed it all up best when he said, “I’m more concerned with state leaders and what they say than I am about anybody else because they are the lawmakers.” As he should be, it seems, because one of those lawmakers is Molly White. But at least he knows where she stands. He might want to worry about all those like-minded lawmakers in Austin that keep their intolerances to themselves.