HOUSTON - Thursday was Texas Muslim Capitol Day in Austin. But the event, held on the south steps, did not go according to plan.
"Islam will never dominate the United States and by the grace of God it will not dominate Texas," shouted a heckler, who was part of a group of about 30 protesters.
They interrupted the rally as Muslim visitors, mostly children, attempted to sing the Star Spangled Banner.T
Republican Freshman State Representative Molly White fanned the flames and continues to come under fire after posting a Facebook statement, stating she put an Israeli flag on her desk and instructed her staff to ask the Muslim community to renounce terrorist groups and declare their allegiance to the United States before entering her office.
"It's an anti-Islam message," said Ruth Nasrullah, with the Council on American Islamic Relations.
The group sponsored the event and Nasrullah was at the State Capitol Thursday. She said it's one thing to hear that kind of message from protesters, but hearing it from an elected official is a real game-changer.
"She's an elected official. Every day she should go to her office and pledge allegiance to the country and show us that she is serving us the voters by being true to this country," Nasrullah said.
White's Facebook post is still there and has garnered close to 4,000 likes and has drawn more than 7,500 comments. Some in support of her beliefs; others were vehemently against them.
"Well, the important thing is that I represent the interest of this district and my office is open to anyone who would like to come in and talk to me about issues that are important to them. When I am in those discussions, no matter what the topic is, I want to let them know where I come from, where they come from, so we can work on issues together or not work on them together," said White.
Nasrullah said instead of feeling discouraged or defeated, the controversy has motivated CAIR that much more to continue the work it's been doing.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott called for civility in the wake of White's Muslim remarks without calling out White directly.
White responded to the controversy Monday with a statement on her website that read in part:
"Last week during Texas Muslim Capitol Day, I posted a statement on my Facebook page to bring attention to a serious problem facing Texas and the United States of America. Instead of understanding the comment, the political correctness that dominates our public dialogue sought to construe the statement into something intolerant, bigoted and anti-American. This politically correct syndrome seeks to inflict social discipline and tolerance reminders on the perpetrators of candid statements with the intention to silence comments on important issues that face our society. When we remain silent, we lose the opportunity to shed light on issues important to our freedom.
As a freshman State Representative, I never expected one Facebook post to garner over 700,000 impressions. Attention from a plethora of news outlets such as CNN was also a first for me. Many immediately charged me with hate and discrimination while others thanked me for standing for truth. I would ask the naysayers to conduct some further research into the issue that I addressed before casting judgment.
As a legislator who has the responsibility to look out for and protect the safety as well as liberties of my constituents and all Texans, it remains my duty to stay vigilant and inform the public about maintaining our rule of law and protecting our 1st amendment freedoms."
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