A candidate seeking a seat in the Texas House of Representatives in the May 27 Republican runoff recently warned listeners on a religious radio program about “the infiltration of our society by Muslims.” The Texas Tribune reported about the comments by Rob Henneke, who finished second in the March primary for the GOP nomination to replace state Rep. Harvey Hildebran, R-Kerrville, in a Hill Country House district:
“I’m very concerned about the infiltration of our society by Muslims right now in Texas,” Henneke told listeners. “I don’t think people are aware about how pervasive that has become in our society.”
He said he would support in the next legislative session the passage of the American Laws for American Courts Act, which would forbid the use of foreign law in the state’s courts.
“We have good, very conservative judges that I don’t think would be open to allowing” Shariah law in Texas, Henneke said in an interview. “But I have seen reports and heard anecdotally situations elsewhere in this country and in Texas where that has been a problem and an issue.”
Our friends at Texas Impact have rightly denounced Henneke for crossing the line into religious bigotry. His comments about the mythical threat of Shariah law in Texas are also absurd. Measures like the American Laws for American Courts Act have failed to pass in Texas because — as legal experts, business representatives and religious groups have pointed out repeatedly — they are unnecessary (both the U.S. and Texas Constitutions bar the imposition of religious laws), legally problematic and potentially unconstitutional. But promoting anti-Muslim hysteria (and bigotry) clearly remains a weapon in the far right’s political arsenal.