Freshman (Texas) state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, is not in Austin today to celebrate Texas Muslim Capitol Day. But she left instructions for the staff in her Capitol office on how to handle visitors who are, including asking them to declare allegiance to the United States.
"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," she posted on Facebook. "We will see how long they stay in my office."
Texas Muslim Capitol Day, which began in 2003, is organized by the Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and brings members of Muslim communities in Houston, Dallas and other areas of the state to the Capitol to learn about the political process and meet state lawmakers. Texas has the eighth-largest Muslim population in the United States, with more than 420,000 Muslims residing in the state, according to estimates from the Texas State Historical Association.
Even before participants in Thursday’s event — about 100 Muslims, mostly children — could get to lawmakers’ offices, they encountered opposition from a group of about 25 protesters outside the Capitol holding signs. One said, “Radical Islam is the New Nazi.” Another said, “Go Home & Take Obama With You.”
The Muslim group held a press conference on the South steps of the Capitol, where one of the protesters yanked the microphone from an event organizer, shouting, “Islam will never dominate the United States and by the grace of God, it will never dominate Texas.”
As the group of Muslims continued the event by singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the interruptions persisted, with the protesters yelling, “Islam is a lie!” and “No Sharia here!”
Mustafaa Carroll, the executive director of the Houston chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, called the behavior “very frustrating.” Carroll said this was the first year protesters showed up since Muslim Capitol Day began.
"I’m more concerned with state leaders and what they say than I am about anybody else because they are the lawmakers," he said.