Shoulder to Shoulder organized a number of faith leaders to speak out against the anti-Muslim rhetoric at the Texas State Capitol.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Natalie Butz, West End Strategy Team
Natalie@westendstrategy.com; (o) 202-776-7700; (c) 202-765-8584
Local and National Religious Leaders respond to anti-Muslim protests at Texas State Capitol
AUSTIN – Today an event hosted by a local Muslim organization at the Texas Capitol was met by protestors and bigoted comments from Rep. Molly White. Following this, a number of local and national faith leaders – organized by the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign – released these statements:
Catherine Orsborn, the Director of the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, said: “The constitution of the United States promises every American the right to petition the government. That the efforts of the Texas Muslim community to engage the state government this year – as they and so many other religious communities do each year – was met with bigotry from outside and from within the state Capitol building, is an affront to our democracy. The Muslims lobbying their government were participating in one of the most American and democratic actions. To question their American-ness in that moment is highly discriminatory, to force them to publically reaffirm their allegiance to the democratic rights they are exercising is simply absurd.
Dr. Bob Roberts, Senior Pastor of Northwood Church in Keller, TX, said, “I was sad that Congresswoman White felt it necessary to single out and intimidate Muslims as she did in such a paternalistic condescending way today. We need to build a bridge to Muslims and others. She should know what our founding Fathers taught: that the health of our democracy is seen in how we treat minorities.”
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, a Jewish leader who was raised in San Antonio, said, ”I grew up attending the Texas Folklife Festival, celebrating the many cultures which make up the Lone Star State. That spirit of welcome and inclusion was sadly absent among those shouting ‘we don’t want you here’ and ‘go home’ — that kind of hatred and intolerance is not the Texas I know and love.”
“I’m particularly saddened by Rep. White’s note demanding that Muslim Americans denounce terrorism and publicly recite the pledge of allegiance. Jews have frequently been subject to this kind of pressure to prove that we’re worthy and patriotic citizens, and I hate to think of my fellow Americans being treated this way. Furthermore, Rep. White’s use of the Israeli flag to make Muslim visitors feel uncomfortable is shameful.”
“As disheartened as I am to see this kind of religious intolerance, I’m gladdened by the voices — from every faith-tradition — coming forward to denounce bigotry and uphold religious freedom.”