David Bradley: Anti-Bigotry Champion? No.

by Dan Quinn

Kate Alexander of the Austin American-Statesman has a story about how anti-Muslim bigotry almost derailed a major public school budget bill last week, nearly forcing the Texas Legislature into another special session. Prodded by anti-Muslim hysteria from right-wing activists (like the folks at Texas Eagle Forum), a number of House members voted against the budget because of concerns that Harmony Public Schools — a successful charter school network — supposedly has ties to radical Muslims from Turkey.

Alexander reports that far-right lawmakers fear the schools are being used to indoctrinate American students:

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, requested an investigation of Harmony. He said Harmony teaches Islamic culture, and “you cannot distinguish Islamic culture from their religion. Where there is smoke, you should look into it.”

But look who came to the defense of Harmony schools: State Board of Education member David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna:

“There is a lot of misinformation, a certain level of fear and a small helping of bigotry that needs to go away,” said State Board of Education member David Bradley, R-Beaumont.

Bradley said he would be the “first to sound the alarm” if there were anything to be alarmed about. But the board has not received substantive complaints from parents of the 16,000 children that attend any of the 33 Harmony campuses across the state, he said.

“The only thing these guys are guilty of are high scores and being Turkish,” Bradley said.

Excuse us for laughing at the idea that David Bradley opposes anti-Muslim bigotry.

This is the same guy who had no problem resorting to religious bigotry in his re-election campaign in 2008. Bradley circulated a campaign flier warning that his Democratic opponent, Laura Ewing, wanted to write an Islamic curriculum for Texas public schools. (She didn’t, of course. But that hardly mattered.) The flier included a photo of Ewing sitting in front of the Taj Mahal in India and asked ominously: “Do you know what the Democrat for State Board of Education supports?”

Bradley defended the flier when a Houston Chronicle columnist asked him about it:

“I think Islamic curriculum is about the furthest thing that we need to be introducing into Texas classrooms. I think people are real sensitive about Islamic studies, given recent events in the United States.”

Then last September Bradley helped pass a state board resolution attacking Islam and claiming (falsely) that history textbooks are pro-Muslim and anti-Christian. And that was just a few months after he insisted that social studies curriculum standards include the full name of President Barack Hussein Obama. But now Bradley is concerned about anti-Muslim bigotry? That’s rich.

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