It is common knowledge that President Donald Trump has not been making many friends among the Islamic faith during his time in office. It is also no secret that the choices he has been making of people to fill out his administration have often been controversial ones. With his recent announcement of his newest appointee — Beth Van Duyne, a former Texas mayor who actually started a large-scale anti-Muslim conspiracy theory by making the outlandish claim her town had been overtaken by Sharia law — Donald trump has officially sunk to a new low on both counts.
The New York Daily News reports that the Donald Trump administration hired Van Duyne on Monday after she was recommended by disgraced former national security adviser and noted Islamaphobe Micheal Flynn.
She is best-known for being the mayor of Irving, Texas, the town where 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing an “oddly-shaped” homemade digital clock to school to show his teachers. The event was one of the more notable instances of pre-Donald Trump Islamaphobia in the news, and Van Duyne came down firmly on the side of the police who apprehended Mohamed for what turned out to be no reason.
Van Duyne is taking a big step up from the mayor of Irving, Texas, to the Department of Housing and Urban Development supervisor for the entire American Southwest, and she seems excited for the change and ready to take her “fight for equality” to the next level.
“It’s a much larger scope than just one city,” Van Duyne tells the Texas Tribune. “I strongly believe that government should be limited and that it should be focused on helping those that need it the most.”
That all sounds very nice, but a quick glance into Van Duyne’s extremely controversial political track record shows many people think she by no means practices what she preaches: Islamaphobic politics to rival those of Donald Trump himself.
As detailed by the Pew Research Center, various religions may often set up religious mediation panels. The panels are not government-sanctioned in any way, but they act as courts that two or more people of a given religion can consult in cases of a dispute involving that religion. Such panels are organized for all religions and can be found in cities across the country.
In 2015, Van Duyne caught wind of a Muslim mediation panel operating in Irving, and as mayor, she was not having it. She spoke out against the panel, calling it a court of “Sharia law” — a phrase which has practically become a dirty word to many Americans. She even warned that the rulings passed by the Islamic “court” would be “non-American” and would not abide by the U.S. constitution, which, of course, was not true.
Obviously, Van Duyne’s words were more than a little inflammatory — Patheos calls them “typical Islamophobic paranoia based on lies and used to rile up the rabble into a frenzy.” They quickly garnered national media attention and made Van Duyne known as one of the premier Islamaphobes of the pre-Donald Trump era. Chron even labeled the incident “2015 Texas Hoax of the Year.”
Congratulations to Irving’s Mayor, Beth Van Duyne for keeping Sharia out of Irving, Texas! pic.twitter.com/einhQVqgUq— Wake Up America (@WakeupAmerica9) March 26, 2015
One might think a scandal of that seriousness and scale would spell the end of a political career. In Van Duyne’s case, though, it evidently did not.
Many sources are criticizing Donald Trump for hiring a candidate they see as a straight-up conspiracy theorist or hate monger. Is it honestly that big of a shock, though? As countless social media users and news outlets have pointed out, Donald seems to be hiring only “yes men” and those who will help him advance his business interests. Maybe the addition of Beth Van Duyne can just be chalked up as another case of the same.
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