Mayor Beth Van Duyne has been under attack by Muslims and Leftists for taking a stand against creeping Sharia in Irving. Tonight’s Irving City Council meeting will have two rival community groups that are organizing to speak out on a statehouse bill widely believed to target Islamic influence in America.
DALLAS NEWS In the two weeks since a widely split City Council voted to endorse the bill, disputes about religious freedom, bigotry, crimes and the Constitution have spread from Irving all the way to the Capitol. The local leftist judenrat rabbi and other leftist residents plan to join Muslims tonight to speak out against the bill and its backers on the council—namely Mayor Beth Van Duyne.
A “patriot” group is organizing on Facebook to counter them, and both sides are promising heavy turnout. We’ll see. While we wait, here’s a quick and dirty rundown of recent events before tonight’s meeting:
The Islamic Center of Irving has received about half a dozen threats since the vote, the center’s imam Zia Sheikh tells me. Letters, emails and phone calls that have mosque leaders worried for the hundreds of children who regularly visit the center. (Oh, Boo Hoo)
Irving police are investigating several anonymous emails, though a police spokesman said the ones he’s seen look “derogatory and rude”—but don’t contain any direct threats. The Islamic Center said it’s contacted the FBI too.
Meanwhile, Van Duyne is portraying herself as a victim of the dust-up on Facebook, saying the events have put her “under attack.”
I asked her who was attacking her, and she texted me a long statement fingering the media — including my own reporting, which said the dispute has made her “a hero among Texas patriots who believe Muslims — a tiny fraction of the U.S. population — are plotting to take over American culture and courts.”
And it has. The mayor’s Facebook page overflows with accolades from across the continent, like this one:
If you don’t know what Shariah law is, it’s an Islamic moral and legal code — similar to codes used by Christians and Jews. Irving’s Islam dispute went national when the mayor conflated a voluntary mediation service for Muslims, “The Islamic Tribunal,” with a court that threatened constitutional equal protection rights.
That fed a chain of justified concerns spreading across the country among people who fear, with credible evidence, a Muslim assault on the U.S. Constitution. And it led to last month’s council vote to endorse House Bill 562, “American Law for American Courts,” which doesn’t mention religion but whose author has cited the Islamic Tribunal as a “problem” it will help solve.
“Equating conservative, Constitutional efforts as ‘fringe’ is a fairly standard media attack used to demean or diminish,” Van Duyne told me in her text statement. “You and others have a defined narrative in mind when you have written recently.”
I asked the mayor to call me with her thoughts on the police investigation into reports of threats against Muslims. She hasn’t yet, but last night she accused Sheikh, the imam, of breaking the law himself. In a Twitter exchange, state representatives Matt Rinaldi and Ken Sheets argued late into Wednesday night with Sheikh over whether he had asked the mayor for an apology in a meeting last month.
The mayor interjected to claim that in an early version of the Islamic Tribunal’s website (since changed), the imam falsely called himself a lawyer:
Not that what Muslims call “man-made” law means anything to Muslim garbage like Imam Zia (see above statement from Mustafa Carroll of CAIR):
Islamic Center director Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh told me the mosque was trying to extract its worshipers from the political fray.
“I don’t want to turn this into the center versus the mayor or the Muslim community versus the mayor,” he said. “We’re concerned this bill might create some tensions. We have seen some these threat letters might impact our community. We don’t to be victims of politics in town. We’re worried about copy cats. We have lots of kids in the school,” he said. “We, at this time, don’t want to make a lot of noise.”
We’ll see how much noise is made at City Hall tonight. But even if the planned rallies peter out, I expect this issue to keep bubbling for months to come.