published Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Haslam right to hire Muslim

Gov. Bill Haslam is facing a tremendous amount of heat from Republican and tea party activists across the state. No fewer than five resolutions are currently circulating urging the Tennessee Republican Executive Committee to take meaningful action against the Haslam administration. A political organization plans to purchase ads condemning the governor. Some grass-roots activists are even calling for his resignation.

His crime? Hiring the most qualified person for a position.

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development's new international director is from Waverly, a small town just west of Nashville. Most recently, she served as a White House fellow, one of our nation's most competitive and prestigious honors for a young professional.

She also worked as an associate attorney at Hogan Lovells, one of the most respected international law firms in the world. Before that, she clerked for a senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. She is a tae kwon do champion and a volunteer for the YMCA, AIDS efforts and an organization focused on addressing diabetes. Her bachelor's and law degrees are both from Vanderbilt.

She also happens to be Muslim.

This fact prompted the Center for Security Policy, a D.C.-based organization that likes to stick its nose in local issues any time a Muslim is involved, along with Republican groups in Stewart and Carroll Counties and the 8th District Tea Party Coalition, an umbrella organization of West Tennessee tea party groups, to pass resolutions urging Haslam to relieve the ECD's new international director of her duties.

The resolutions, which also condemn Haslam for allowing "open homosexuals to make policy decisions in the Department of Children's Services," declare that the governor's actions have caused a loss of "confidence in our Governor during an election year."

The Stewart and Carroll County resolutions call for the state's Republican leaders to take "appropriate action against the administration of Governor Bill Haslam."

Williamson County's Republican Party passed a more focused resolution criticizing the hiring of a Muslim in a position related to foreign trade.

Additionally, members of the 9.12 Project Tennessee, a Nashville-area group committed to "restoring constitutional values" claim they have raised money to purchase a half page ad in Friday's Tennessean condemning Haslam for hiring a Muslim, according to an email sent by the organization. I guess they forgot about one constitutional value: freedom of religion.

Samar (pronounced "Summer") Ali is, quite simply, one of the most talented, accomplished people Tennessee has produced in decades. After several years working internationally, and completing the White House Fellows program, she wanted to return home to Tennessee. With ECD wanting to expand its focus on increasing exports of Tennessee products, the 30-year-old got that opportunity.

When Ali was named international director for ECD, it prompted a handful of local loons to go berserk. The resolutions came shortly thereafter.

Some of this silliness is the fault of Republican lawmakers in the state legislature who, rather than using their hard-won majority to advance ideas of liberty in the Tennessee General Assembly, have focused far too much effort on silencing religious minorities and limiting the rights of gay Tennesseans. As a result, a small number of local activists feel empowered to criticize the governor for hiring religious minorities and not firing hard-working gay state employees.

It simply isn't necessary for Republicans to pander to racists, homophobes and bigots to garner votes and win elections in the Volunteer State. The majority of Tennesseans are attracted to the GOP's platform of fiscal conservatism, free market economic principles, low taxes, transparency and limited, responsible government.

Reasonable conservatives have dozens of reasons to be disappointed in Gov. Haslam's short tenure. From failing to cut wasteful spending to proposing to expand several failing programs, Haslam has fallen short of what many conservatives expected from a Republican governor.

Yet, it's not those issues that have many Republican and tea party groups in Tennessee up in arms. Instead, it's Haslam's choice to place qualified people in important positions in state government -- irrespective of their religion or what they do with other consenting adults in the privacy of their own bedrooms -- that drew the ire of some fringe activists.

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.

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librul said...

The Tea Party - ignorant, racist nitwits that we would all be better off without. Holy cow, I just agreed with the Free Press about something ... where's my flask!?

July 18, 2012 at 1:28 a.m.
lightkeeper said...

The Republican Tea Party seems to have it in for anyone in office (or anyone else)who is not a close minded undercover racists. If you believe in liberty and justice for all, your in trouble, yet they run to church on Sunday proclaiming to be Christian evangelicals. The bible says love thy neighbor as thy self, it didn't say just your black neighbor or your white neighbor or your straight neighbor or your rich neighbor or your Republican neighbor it meant everyone. What a bunch of hypocrites that give christianity a bad name, good job Satan.

July 18, 2012 at 4:09 a.m.
fairmon said...

"Tea party groups" are the key words. It seems any group that wants to take a position regardless of how ridiculous can call themselves a tea party group. Apparently anyone that can generate enough like minded idiots to join them can become the leader of that group and assume the tea party label. These people tend to think anything on the internet must be true and react to limited or false information in the manner described in this article. It is unfortunate they may influence others that may react without knowing the facts.

July 18, 2012 at 5:43 a.m.
EaTn said...

Looks like the TFP staff screwed-up and got this left-wing liberal article on the wrong side of the page.

July 18, 2012 at 6:26 a.m.
moon4kat said...

A sensible editorial from the FP. Surprised me.

July 18, 2012 at 8:30 a.m.
John_Proctor said...

Well, we all know what a hotbed of Sharia law Waverly, TN., is and how it has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Obviously, someone with her list of accomplishments and education is automatically suspect among the wearers of the tin foil hats.

July 18, 2012 at 9:02 a.m.
PaulBurnett said...

Tea parties are for little girls with imaginary friends.

July 18, 2012 at 11:51 a.m.
aae1049 said...

The truth is the biggest haters are the Liberal Dems. They engage in hating people for their earned or inherited wealth all the time, and in electronic stalking of conservative blogs.

July 18, 2012 at 11:57 a.m.
GregEsres said...

aae1049 wrote "The truth is the biggest haters are the Liberal Dems. They engage in hating people for their earned or inherited wealth all the time"

Ah, no they don't. They merely argue that the wealth should be taxed. So not only is your claim factually incorrect, it isn't any sort of rational defense of the present conservative outcry.

July 18, 2012 at 12:33 p.m.
Downtownman said...

After a well writen article by the editorialist, all commentators were coming together in agreement, aae comes in with a bucket of cold water and unleashes one of the biggest distortions this side of "Muslim countries hate us because of our freedom" or the beauty queen thinking people hate her "because she's pretty and popular". Though not wealthy myself, I have friends and family who have done very well.I do not hate the wealthy. I hate it when they whine about welfare, yet benefit from lower tax rates, or when they proclaim how self made they are, yet never mention tax breaks, benefits from public schools, police protection, military protection, public roads and corporate welfare, which ALL of us helped pay for. I hate it when they judge the homeless, poor, and disadvantaged with the hatefulness and lack of empathy so clearly condemned in the Bible.

As for stalking conservative blogs, pot meet kettle. As a reader of both conservative and liberal blogs, I can say both suffer from intrusions from the opposite point of view. If i just rained on your self pity party, I sincerely apologize.

July 18, 2012 at 12:58 p.m.
gragra said...

"The truth is the biggest haters are the Liberal Dems. They engage in hating people for their earned or inherited wealth all the time"

Translation: "I know we are, but what are you? WHAA WHAA!!" Ooh, equivalency!

And of course, wanting to increase the top income tax bracket for the wealthiest Americans is the moral equivalent of wanting to fire someone because of their privately held beliefs about something that has nothing to do with their job....only in the vacuous laboratory rat's maze that a republican keeps between their ears.

July 18, 2012 at 1 p.m.
JustOneWoman said...

aae1049 said... The truth is the biggest haters are the Liberal Dems. They engage in hating people for their earned or inherited wealth all the time, and in electronic stalking of conservative blogs.

The truth is the biggest liars are the ones that think they know everything about everyone else, profess opinions that are not their own, and want everyone to be just like them. Sadly liars and haters think everyone lies and hates.

July 18, 2012 at 1:48 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Bravo, TFP. Nice to see you on the side of what is right, not what is partisan.

July 18, 2012 at 3:52 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Well Justonewoman,

"Profess opinions that are not their own.." Like you would know.

Unlike you, I use my real name and photo. It is so easy to hide behind a user name and no photo.

July 18, 2012 at 4:14 p.m.
dao1980 said...

Well, you probably shouldn't have...

All I got's to say is WHOA NELLY!

July 18, 2012 at 4:29 p.m.
raygunz said...

If the Governor of the state of Tennessee wants my undying support (and I've never supported a Republican in my life) all he has to do is call a press conference, reference these resolutions of sanction for his lack of conservative values, then calmly extend a double barrel one finger salute to the Tea Party and the jackasses who belong to it. Those idiots have done more to bring ridicule to the state than anything since Hee Haw was on prime time, and they don't deserve another minute's worth of attention for their lunacy.(squatlo)

July 18, 2012 at 8:08 p.m.
Louiszwu said...

The Tea Party seems to think that the Constitution is open to interpretation. It is not. Our government is a secular one for a reason. To keep this sort of idiocy from occurring. It's a really simple concept. If I don't love your freedom as I do my own, then neither of us are free.

July 18, 2012 at 10:30 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Cowards speaks from fictional names.

July 18, 2012 at 11:44 p.m.

Actually the worst cowards are the ones who attack others rather than deal honestly with what they have to say.

Your feeble attempt to defend your conduct shows what you really are. A thug and a bully. Your braggadocio and belligerence actually show your weakness.

July 19, 2012 at 2:10 a.m.
CJHamilton said...

I sincerely doubt, "aae1049", that that is your 'real' name- since you seem so determined to find fault in everyone else for not using 'real' names.

You are unable to make any actual comment on the content of the article, instead hiding behind the time-worn playground cry of "But they're mean to us, too!". Thus you show yourself both coward and ignorant for not being able to engage in real, mature discussion about the merits and legality of demanding that a more than qualified holder of a government job be removed, merely because their religious preference does not mesh with your own.

Until you can actually make a well reasoned argument for Ms Ali's removal that doesn't hinge on your being religiously biased, then you are nothing but bigoted hot air and bluster.

July 19, 2012 at 2:34 a.m.
moon4kat said...

aae1049 sounds like the name of a robot. seriously, if that's your real name, you should change it.

July 19, 2012 at 7:58 a.m.
wethepeople said...

Drew, I have to say that your article, while certainly provocative, is unfortunately laced with troublesome distortions and omissions and worst of all resorts to the underhanded tactics of the left.

Rather than simply acknowledge that one could have a disagreement on a policy, you have stooped to calling folks names that I thought would only come from the likes of Pelosi, Reid and Obama.

"Racists, homophobes, and bigots..." Really? Come on Drew. Let's debate on the issues themselves versus resorting to this kind of denigrating name calling which is not only unbecoming but is in fact, false.

First, many if not most conservatives, Republicans and Tea Party members consider themselves social conservatives. It would appear you don't include yourself in that significant majority. That's ok if you aren't but it's not ok for you to disparage a majority segment of our state and nation’s population that agrees with the Republican platform’s stance on traditional values.

You cite the GOP's platform as being one of "fiscal conservatism, free market economic principles, low taxes, transparency and limited, responsible government." Conveniently though you omitted the entire section of the same platform that continues to prominently support the Sanctity of Human Life and Traditional Marriage.

Recall that it was Ronald Reagan who consistently held that his Party would only succeed as it acknowledged the importance of all three legs of the Republican stool: Fiscal Conservatism, Strong National Defense and Social Conservatism. I believe you have forgotten that your stool won’t sit too well with just one or two legs.

Finally, as to the decision by Haslam to pick a person who, while she may be brilliant and talented, there are certainly valid reasons to express concern over her potential approval and promotion of Sharia law. There’s not enough time here to address the myriad of dangers represented by advocates of Sharia law, but suffice it to say that any honest analysis of Sharia law will conclude that a nation, society or culture that accepts Sharia will ultimately be called to reject any other system of law, which in our case is our Constitution. This is already beginning to happen in nation’s across the globe who disregarded similar warnings by their concerned citizens.

July 19, 2012 at 8:18 a.m.
wethepeople said...

Continuation from above...

So, while very short and to the point, if Ms. Ali supports and/or promotes Sharia in our state, this should cause serious concern to not only GOP groups across Tennessee, but to all citizens of all backgrounds, regardless of their race, religion or sexual orientation. By the way, if one’s sexual orientation is homosexual, they in particular should be concerned over any promotion of Sharia law, given its response to that life choice. Finally, understand that Sharia is not simply a system that deals strictly with finances anymore than the Constitution deals simply with Free Speech or the Bible deals solely with eternity. No, Sharia is a comprehensive system of laws that touch every aspect of one’s life and, if implemented in our nation, would fundamentally transform it - in a way that you and I would totally reject.

Hmm, as I recall, it seems like I remember some other person in 2008 using that same phrase, “fundamentally transform...” How has that worked out for us?

July 19, 2012 at 8:19 a.m.
rjha said...

not every muslim wants to implement sharia law in the united states, or even agrees with all aspects of the sharia code, just like not every christian wants to implement christian law in this country or agrees with every bit of the dogma. i feel like this should be obvious.

So this -

"So, while very short and to the point, if Ms. Ali supports and/or promotes Sharia in our state, this should cause serious concern to not only GOP groups across Tennessee,"

is just plain stupid. the woman has passed any test of legitimacy and american-ness you would care to throw at her. meanwhile, i would be more worried about the fundamentalists trying to implement christian law in this country.

July 19, 2012 at 10:24 a.m.
chatt_man said...

CJHamilton and moon4kat - pull your pants up, your ignorance is showing. April's statement that she uses her real name and photo is only applicable to the more intelligent, that are adept enough to look at a profile.

But I agree, I sincerely doubt that "aae1049" is her real name.

July 19, 2012 at 10:45 a.m.
raygunz said...

wethepeople said... "there are certainly valid reasons to express concern over her potential approval and promotion of Sharia law."
Perhaps you'd care to share some of those "valid reasons"with the rest of us??

" if Ms. Ali supports and/or promotes Sharia in our state"

Key word here is "IF"!! You have NO proof at all that that is the case. Typical fear mongering!!!

I'm so skeered,aint you skeered?? Wot-a-crock!!

July 19, 2012 at 11:01 a.m.
raygunz said...

BTW chatt_man ,your avatar exposes YOUR ignorance!

July 19, 2012 at 11:07 a.m.
chatt_man said...

Awe, come on now raygunz, I thought you might be flattered to see your super heroes showcased. You sound like you're in position already.

July 19, 2012 at 11:22 a.m.
raygunz said...

chatt_man,response noted. I rest my case.

July 19, 2012 at 12:10 p.m.

The amusing thing is that the hardcore Christian "Social Conservatives" and the "Sharia Law" Muslims have a lot more in common than they want to admit.

July 19, 2012 at 12:21 p.m.
dao1980 said...

That's right, they have so much in common that is simply laughable.

Aside from their depraved lust for absolute theocracy-rule, they all worship the same personification, and insist that without a doubt that they know "his" every thought based solely on content from their self written books... from a long long time ago..

July 19, 2012 at 12:53 p.m.
Ed_Gruberman said...

aae1049 said... "Cowards speaks from fictional names."

You mean cowards like Thomas Paine? Samuel Adams? Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, and Benjamin Franklin?

I'll bet you're one of those mindless authoritarian followers who uses the phrase "If you have nothing to hide, what are you afraid of?" as well.

July 19, 2012 at 1:47 p.m.
vin5ron said...

The folllowing commentary is written to promote the survival of Constitutional Freedom in the USA. To learn what Islam wants the world to know about Islam, google ors search for "Islam". To learn what many non-muslxims have concluded about Islam, google or search for "anti-Islam". Also interesting, google or search for both "Islam" and any other word(s) or organization if you want to see what the net has to offer about the relationship between or news concerning your search items.

Bill's Commentary (8/13/12): ¶(1)The U. S. foreign wars against the terrorists presently exist to provide political cover for the ongoing surrender of the USA to Islam. True Believing Muslims are fanatically happy to die fighting us overseas as long as they believe that the surrender of the USA is ongoing and that the continuing wars make the covert ongoing surrender of the USA to Islam seem implausible to the average voter. The big lie that holds the fraud together includes this: (1) the terrorists are not true muslims (2) Constitiutional Freedom has nothing to fear from Islam (3) Islam is a religion qualified for protection as such by the Constitution. Unbridled indiscrete DIVERSITY, POLITCAL CORRECTNESS and MULTICULTURALISM have blinded many people to the greatest threat Constitutional Freedom has faced. G. W. Bush said Christians and Muslims worship the same God and that the terrorists were misguided. Truth is that "peaceful" muslims in the USA and the muslim terrorists worldwide are both doing what the Koran tells muslims to do (i.e., lie to non-muslims and convert, enslave or kill them). Socialism is being pushed because moving towards socialism will move the USA away from the freedoms (freedom of speech and gun ownership) which can be used to defend the Constitution from Islam. As such, socialism is being used as a stepping stone to an Islamic dictatorship within the USA. In other words, the USA must be partly destroyed and weakened to facilitate its surrender to Islam. ¶(2)The Islamic ideology has locked Islam into eternal war between different sects of True Believers and between any sect of True Believers and any other person/group who is not perceived to be a True Believer whether they claim to be Islamic or not. As such, Islam has continued for 1400 years to be an effective tool for Arab Colonialization of the world. Islamic Ideology is the trap. The excess evil liberties Islam grants to Muslim males is the bait. No area of the world is exempt from this colonlalization unless political and legal action is first taken to prevent and/or prepare for later armed conflict. We will get sharia law whether legal or not unless Islam and anything like it is made illegal in the USA or unless we endure a bloody civil war and win. I prefer the former. With the Constitution being what it is and Islam being what it is, why are unconstitutional acts of Islam or anything similar legal? (continued)

fighting or winning an armed battle. (continued)

September 12, 2012 at 2:56 p.m.
vin5ron said...

¶(3)Two issues which must be faced are as follows. Issue #1: Who has or is working on the comprehensive plan for the states to put the federal government back into the cage crafted for it by the Constitution? Issue #2: Is Islam a religion that is qualified for protection under the Constitution? While the answers to these issues may not be ready for prime time, I hope and pray that there are legal teams working on these and other issues such as vote fraud, etc. If Constitutional Conservatives do not have the organization to fight the political and legal battles that will prevent an actual armed battle, then forget about fighting or winning an armed battle. ¶(4))Most of our voters and elected politicians have been taking us down the road to hell on Earth. As Christian: (1) fail to practice good religion (as defined or adopted by the reader) and you will not or may not go to heaven or etc.; (2) fail to practice good politics and your great grandkids may never hear of good religion. As a Muslim, practice good religion and Islam can be expected to rule the world completely within a few generations. Not a nice thought, but true. ¶(5)Gun owning Conservatives who do not vote because they don't have a perfect candidate to vote for, waste their vote, or believe that political involvment is "beneath" them and who plan to "meet them with a gun when they come to take my gun" at best are as helpful as the socialists and at worst will only be committing suicide after all the non-violent options are gone. Does this help show a solution? Learn how to talk to strangers about what makes and will keep the USA a great place to live and work. Every Constitutional Conservative must be verbally prepared to win any unannounced debate about Islam by simply telling the truth about Islam. Cowards will not defeat Islam, politically, legally or otherwise. Constructive critique of the above is welcomed. Bill Coleman 864-419-2797 pg 1 of 1

September 12, 2012 at 3:04 p.m.
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