Forum on radical Islam threat sparks controversy

It was a confrontational ending to a controversial subject. The tense scene was triggered when a reporter asked if another legislative hearing will be held regarding Christian extremism.

It escalated when the reporter pressed the issue with a guest speaker. "Are you telling me Christians are also doing this,” asked Nonie Darwish who is the founder of Former Muslims United.

A friend of Darwish quickly added one more comment to the reporter.

“How dare you say that, how dare you say that, you low life son of a B----,” said the friend.

The original topic of the day in the state capitol hearing room was on whether or not Texas is a target for Radical Islamic Terrorism. "They just have a different methodology for the destruction of Western civilization,” stated State rep. Bill Zedler ( R ) Arlington.

Guest speaker Chris Gaubatz , who has researched different Jihadi groups,  agreed with Zedler, pointing out the different areas he has identified. "Jihad can be physical, it can be media, it can be political influence, whatever advances the Jihad."

The gathering was hosted by state representative Kyle Biedermann.

"We are hoping to accomplish information, and fact finding for the legislation so we can base our information on facts and not on biases and not any kind of prejudice or bigotry,” said Biedermann ( R ) Fredericksburg.

State lawmaker Tony Tinderholt ( R ) Arlington who also took part in the panel discussion, argued Biederman's focus is not an attack on personal religious liberty. "Not one time did I hear him say Muslim people, he said these groups, and these organizations that’s what we are talking about here,” said Tinderholt.

When the hearing ended, Nonie Darwish, warned that religious honor killings were already taking place in the U.S. "As a woman, I’m scared, for American women,” said Darwish.

There were others who came to the state capitol to say they were deeply offended by the symposium and offended by a survey sent out in advance of the hearing. An interfaith coalition was organized after a survey from representative Biedermann was reportedly sent to individuals who signed up for the upcoming Muslim Advocacy Day at the state capitol. Ahmed Mahmoud with the Council on American Islamic Relations /Austin suggested the state lawmaker could have taken a less inflammatory approach.

"Pick up the phone give a call, engage with us, come out to our events maybe even invite us to have a dialogue,” said Mahmoud.

Beidermann's poll wanted responses to the following items; if the Muslim Brotherhood should be labeled as a terrorist organization. If there is support for the Muslim reform movement. If interpretations of Islam, that encourage violence, should be rejected.  If there’s support for a pledge to stand against the intimidation or punishment for former Muslims.

"I would like to inform all citizens of Texas, that Muslim leaders, Mosques and organizations across Texas have condemned do condemn and will continue to condemn all acts of terror and violence,” said Mufti Mohamed - Umer Esmail the Imam of Nueces Mosque.

The poll was described as an unnecessary loyalty oath straight from the McCarthey -Red Scare- era.

"I think it is very appropriate to ask the representative form Fredericksburg, sir, have you no shame,” said Ahmad Zamer with the American Arab Anti-Discrimination /Austin.

The two gatherings- provided a glimpse of how volatile a formal legislative committee hearing could become if- some type of Islamic terrorism defense bill is filed. Representative Biedermann said he doesn’t know how long it will take for him to draft and filed a bill.

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