Islamic leaders in Texas have refused to respond directly to a texas representative's request to denounce radical Islamic violence. Instead, they called the action “fearmongering.”
AUSTIN — A Central Texas lawmaker has sent letters to mosques across Texas asking Islamic leaders to answer questions about their support for Shariah law, a move critics decried as a calculated effort to intimidate Muslims who planned to visit the Capitol.
In anticipation of Texas Muslim Capitol Day on Jan. 31, Rep. Kyle Biedermann, a Republican from Fredericksburg, and two ideological organizations that claim to fight Islamic extremism in the U.S. sent a poll that asks mosque leaders to indicate their support for three documents. The letter bears Biedermann's Capitol address, and the words “URGENT REPLY ASAP” are stamped in bright red letters on the envelope.
One of the documents Biedermann seeks support for is a “Declaration of Muslim Reform Movement” that repudiates “institutionalized Sharia” and declares support for secular governance, democracy and liberty. The second is a “Muslim Pledge for Religious Freedom and Safety from Harm for Former Muslims,” which renounces persecution of so-called apostates who leave Islam. The third is federal legislation that designates the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization.
Islamic leaders who received the poll said they viewed it as fear-mongering and intimidation. But they said they would not be swayed from coming to the Capitol to talk with lawmakers as they have every legislative session since 2003.
“All of this foolishness they're doing, they could spend their time better getting to know us,” said Mustafaa Carroll, executive director of the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “They don't have the courage to do that.”
Texas Impact, a statewide network of faith leaders from all denominations, has urged mosque leaders not to respond to Biedermann's letter, which they said bears no official weight despite its calculatedly official appearance. The group also sent the lawmaker a letter condemning the survey as “disturbing” and “remarkably inhospitable.”
“In our view, the letter accompanying your survey is misleading and intimidating,” the Rev. Whitney Bodman, president of Texas Impact, wrote to Biedermann.
The Fredericksburg lawmaker, who is in his first term, gained notoriety during his campaign when a photo surfaced of him in a “gay Hitler” costume. Biedermann also ran into ethical questionsbefore his term began when he invited, and then uninvited, lawmakers and their staffers to a $100-per-ticket polo match and alcohol tasting event.
The letter Biedermann sent Jan. 11, the day after he was sworn into office, tells mosque leaders to complete the poll by indicating whether they support the three documents and mailing their responses to Biedermann. The results, the letter says, will be shared with other Texas elected officials. In underlined type, it orders a reply by Jan. 20.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has refused to denounce radical Islam several times over the past year. This questionnaire accomplishes exactly what CAIR said it wants — a dialogue between their organization and their government — but instead of responding, they reacted with hostility.
On the final page, National Security Analyst, Prof. Ryan Mauro, speaks about the 83 radical mosques in America: