Catching Hell for Hiring a Muslim

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Not to make my posts too Tennessee-centric, but the Volunteer State is about to make national news for all the wrong reasons.

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.”

Drew Johnson


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63 Responses to “Catching Hell for Hiring a Muslim”

  1. #1 |  John Spragge | 

    @Meiczyslaw By my count, the United States constitution affirms or recognizes seventeen basic rights. The body of the constitution itself affirms six of these rights: the right to vote, the right to hold public office, the right to hold public office regardless of your faith (and yes, that absolutely includes Muslims), the right to basic free movement (habeus corpus), the right not to have legislation passed that targets you personally or imposes sanctions retroactively (no ex post facto legislation), and the right to have the state judge you solely on yourself, exclusive of your family connections. Of these six rights, the framers took pains to emphasize the last: in both the prohibition of bills of attainder in Article I section 9, and in the definition of treason in Article III section 3. The framers of your constitution considered it worth while to twice emphasize that the democracy they proposed to create would not judge people based on antiquated notions of family “corruption”, or indeed on the basis of their faith.

    In the context of the democracy envisioned by Hamilton, Madison, Franklin, and Washington, for the purposes of service with your federal government, the multiple innuendos about Huma Abedin mean exactly nothing. Your constitution repudiates the category of thinking these charges reflect tout court. It takes the time to say, in so many words, that family guilt or dishonour does not exist, even in cases of actual treason.

  2. #2 |  jb | 

    awp nailed it.

  3. #3 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @48 – And believe me, there are quite a few Asatru who are absolutely furious about the far right people who claim the same religion.

  4. #4 |  Sam | 

    Why can’t Muslims admit that Western Civiliation is superior to Islamic Civilization? Afterall Muslims are moving to Europe and the USA is masses and NOT to other Muslim nations. My ancestors did not help build this nation so some desert wanderers could take advantage of what they built.

  5. #5 |  Patrick from Popehat | 

    My ancestors did not help build this nation so that your ancestors’ scrofulous descendant could pollute this fine internet site with bigoted rantings, Sam.

    So there.

  6. #6 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @54 – Those “desert wanderers” had a civilization before America was even a few colonies, one more advanced than the small, squabbling nations of Christian Europe.

    Like other areas of the word – Japan comes to mind – there is an ebb and flow of progress…to try and set yourself up as chosen as in “I am better”…is riding for a fall from grace through arrogance.

    The BRIC’s economies are hungry.

  7. #7 |  demize! | 

    And as a clock striketh noon by the day, the usual suspects who lose all their “Libertarian” when it comes to their designated out group infect The Agitator’s comments thread. I knew the names before I even got to the comments, aside from being chauvinists you are so utterly predictable and boring. You aren’t defying PC. stricture, you are animating a hackneyed stereotype of parochialism.

  8. #8 |  Deoxy | 

    “a group body count for the last 100 years of like 4″: How quickly you forget: the biggest terrorist attack on US soil prior to 9/11 was the Oklahoma City bombing, an attack by a Christianist terrorist organization called the Army of God, which is linked to Operation Rescue, and group which has quite a following within the GOP and the Tea Party.

    That guy was a wacko – and, as has been pointed out, he wasn’t even Christian (even by his own stated beliefs, much less by any third party attempt at rational categorization).

    You also forget the “holy” war Christianists in the US started against Iraq, which resulted in a minimum of 100000 direct deaths (up to 1 million indirect ones). Oh, and let’s not forget the 6 million Jews and 2 million other “indesirables” which were murdered by the very Christian Nazis (Gott mit Uns).

    OK, and those two are completely insane. The war in Iraq was a “holy” war like a fish needs a bicycle (yes, that made no sense – that was the point). Go read any of the media at the time that was actually begun (and the year or two before) and find me ANYTHING that was religious about any of that. The body count bit is also completely ridiculous, since the body count under the existing regime was also crazy high.

    And the Nazis socialist and primarily worshiped the state, followed by pagan racial-supremacist mysticism, who occasionally (not even that often) wrapped that stuff up in Christian vocabulary to confuse the ignorant. You seem to be confused by that.

    So yeah, in terms of “Islam vs Christianity”, Christianity is still several orders of magnitude behind in the body count for at least the last century, which would be the point I was referring to (your claim that the Christian right is currently a bigger threat than Islam).

    John Spragge:

    Yes, I certainly have no problem with most Muslims holding office, and I am well aware of what the Constitution says, thanks, but you are reading “family” as equivalent of “faith” in terms of the treason bit, which is not the same thing.

    The point is not that Muslims can’t hold office, it’s that nothing related to their faith is supposed to be looked at at ALL – hello Times Square bomber, HELLO Nidal Hasan (“It’s not related to Islam, pay no attention to the cries of “Allahu Akbar” as he killed them.”).

    I am not advocating they be barred from office. I am advocating that their Islamic faith be given the same level of scrutiny that Christian faith is given.

    Just as a Christian with some kind of distorted believe that abortion doctors should be murdered would be scrutinized, we should be sure that someone of Islamic faith is not a member of any group which believes in literal Jihad holy war against the West. And since such groups have a key belief that lying to infidels is to be encouraged, that takes just a little checking.

    That’s all I’m saying. Deliberately treating the group that most wants to kill us with the least scrutiny is STUPID.

  9. #9 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @58 – The same level? You mean…

    “There is separation of Church and State, you may not discuss why this policy is based on religious ethics”?

  10. #10 |  Steve | 

    Radical Muslims aren’t a political threat in the west because they don’t have any power. Radical Christians are a huge threat however, because they actually rule the United States at all levels. The country has already turned into a Christian quasi-theocracy. You can’t complain about “sharia law” when there are laws based on Christian “morality” and dogma passed every other day.

  11. #11 |  Mike Crichton | 

    Stephen :
    Isn’t that flat fee going to be roughly the same size as the compound interest? Otherwise, wouldn’t everybody just do business with muslim bankers?

    IANAM, but from what I understand, it’s _much_ harder to get a shariah-compliant loan. Since the return for the lenders is smaller, they have to be more careful with who they lend to. A non-Muslim / imperfectly-observant-Muslim would have to have a damn-near perfect credit rating to even have a chance. A fully observant Muslim, who never took out any interest bearing loans, would of course not have much of a credit score at all, but they’d also be heavily scrutinized.

  12. #12 |  Fr. Jack | 

    You are a true patriot. Thank you for speaking out.

  13. #13 |  Fr. Jack | 


    You’re a true patriot. Thank you, sir for speaking out against this inane