Gov. Bill Haslam hired an amazingly talented business attorney to serve as the international director to handle the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s new focus on expanding the state’s overseas exports.
The new hire, Samar Ali, is a Tennessee native, Vanderbilt law graduate, a recent White House Fellow, a former associate attorney at Hogan Lovells and has one of the most impressive resumes of international humanitarian service I’ve ever seen.
She’s also Muslim.
As a result, several county Republican groups and a Tea Party group went berserk and began churning out petitions and resolutions calling for Ali to step down and for Haslam to receive “appropriate action.”
A couple of resolutions also condemn Haslam for allowing “open homosexuals to make policy decisions in the Department of Children’s Services.”
Apparently this small, but loud, group of local loons believe that anyone who isn’t Christian and straight shouldn’t have the opportunity to work for state government in Tennessee.
It seems another concern for these dopes is that, as an international business attorney in Hogan Lovells’ Abu Dhabi office, Ali had to learn Sharia-compliant finance issues – as would any business attorney in the Arab world. It wouldn’t serve clients well if, for example, a business attorney didn’t know that Muslims don’t believe in charging interest, but instead charge fees for borrowing cash up front.
The people in opposition to Ali’s appointment somehow equate her knowledge of Sharia-compliance in her legal work to a desire to inject Tennessee with Sharia law. The ignorance is really mind-blowing.
So, in an effort to defend Muslims, gay people and anyone else being criticized by these small minded bigots, I wrote an editorial for Wednesday’s Chattanooga Times Free Press on the subject.
Not only do I expect that it will go over like a fart in an elevator in an area as culturally conservative as Chattanooga, but I’m speaking at a large Tea Party event on Thursday. This should be fun!
As I say in the piece:
“Hiring the best person for a job — regardless of that individual’s race, religion or sexual orientation — does not make Gov. Haslam a villain. It makes him wise.
Criticizing Haslam for hiring the best person for a job — because of the individual’s race, religion or sexual orientation — does not make you a patriot. It makes you a bigot.”