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  • Writer's pictureTexas Family Project

The Most Pro-Muslim Session in Texas History

In the months following the conclusion of the Texas Legislature and the several special sessions, you may have heard individuals criticize House Speaker Dade Phelan and his allies for being responsible for the most pro-Muslim session in Texas history.

It’s not what you voted for. It’s not what you wanted. Unfortunately, it is what Phelan and his allies did.

Let me explain:

As Speaker of the Texas House, Phelan worked to earn the support of Muslim lawmakers, attended Muslim celebrations, and even promoted Muslim legislation.

First, Phelan was elected with the support of every Democrat member of the Texas House, including Muslims and those who had voted “Present Not Voting” out of protest on a bill to prohibit state contracts from going to companies that boycott Israel. 

Then, Phelan personally attended the first Ramadan party held in the Texas Capitol. A “historic moment,” according to liberal Democrat State Rep. Gene Wu (Houston).

“We especially thank House Speaker Dade Phelan for joining us,” Wu said.

Phelan’s personal attendance at the Ramadan celebration was only part of his efforts to promote the Muslim members of the Texas House and their advocacy organizations. Another aspect of Phelan’s promotion of Muslim advocacy was carried out legislatively, which is even more concerning. 

Worst of all, Phelan’s leadership team advanced and passed resolutions recognizing “Texas Muslim Capitol Day,” commemorating Eid al-Fitr, and recognizing Ramadan. Each of these measures was supported by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an Islamic advocacy group that has condemned Republicans as “Islamophobes” and sued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in an attempt to declare Texas’s anti-BDS law unconstitutional. (Phelan and his leadership team would go on to launch a spurious impeachment of Paxton only one month following CAIR’s loss to him over the Texas BDS law.)

Here are the Muslim bills passed by the Phelan regime:

This bill was authored by Muslim Democrat State Reps. Salman Bhojani and Suleman Lalani and jointly authored by two of Phelan’s top Republican allies—State Reps. Tom Oliverson and Jacey Jetton.

On Thursday, April 20, 2023, Bhojani “moved to suspend all necessary rules to take up and consider at this time HR1069.”

That motion, which requires a two-thirds vote, passed without objection. The resolution was laid before the House, Bhojani spoke to it briefly, and it was adopted. Later, several state representatives asked the clerk to change their vote to a no on the resolution in the House Journal. 

Importantly, these “recorded votes” are non-record votes and do not affect the outcome of what happened. Hypothetically speaking, even if all 150 members of the Texas House asked to be recorded voting no on a resolution that passed, the resolution would still have been passed and would not be rescinded.

Unfortunately, the clerk does not note when they record a “vote” in these cases. The lawmaker could have put in the request immediately, the day after, the month after, or even later.

However, we can say that at some point, the following lawmakers asked to be “recorded voting no:”

State Reps. Cecil Bell, Briscoe Cain, Brian Harrison, Carrie Isaac, Steve Toth, Cody Vasut

State Reps. Bryan Slaton and David Spiller “recorded voting no.”

State Reps. Dennis Paul, Four Price, and David Spiller “recorded voting no.”

Shortly after the vote, Texas Scorecard’s Brandon Waltens wrote a story titled “Texas House Celebrates ‘Muslim Capitol Day.’” In that story, which was published on March 7, 2023, Waltens cites the House Journal where only a few lawmakers voted against the measure.

However, many more lawmakers today, including Glenn Rogers, Lynn Stuckey, Reggie Smith, and others, are shown “recorded voting no”—a development only possible if they spoke to the clerk following Texas Scorecard’s publication.

More on Phelan’s Pro-Muslim Record:

While Phelan has been Speaker of the Texas House, the body hasn’t just passed pro-Muslim resolutions. In practice, Muslim lawmakers and their allies have been promoted. Indeed, under Phelan’s leadership, Muslim Democrat State Reps. Salman Bhojani (Euless) and Suleman Lalani (Sugar Land) were given premium committee assignments.

Following the end of the session, Bhojani bragged on social media that he had successfully passed 10 bills out of the Texas House. In contrast, conservative State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (Arlington) did not even receive a hearing for any of the legislation he filed.

Bhojani’s bills included House Bill 1884, a bill written to address “confusion” on who is allowed to conduct a marriage in the State of Texas by authorizing Muslim imams to the list of individuals authorized under the Texas Family Code. HB 1884 was even jointly authored by Republican State Rep. Jeff Leach (Plano), a key Phelan lieutenant.  

Texas Family Project opposed the bill when it was heard in a committee chaired by Phelan-appointed Democrat State Rep. Harold Dutton (Houston). It was also opposed by Republican Party of Texas activists.

However, Phelan’s Republican allies on the House Calendars Committee and the House floor were able to join with Democrats and pass the bill out of the chamber despite a majority of Republicans voting against it on the floor. The bill was never passed in the Texas Senate.

Phelan’s leadership team even considered legislation recognizing the second to last week of April as “Texas Christian Heritage Week” while reserving the following month for “Muslim Heritage Month.”

Thankfully, that legislation died in committee.

At Texas Family Project, we believe strong families are the foundation of a healthy and thriving Texas. We work each to make families the most powerful force in Austin and to ensure Christian family values are upheld by our government. Texas voters deserve no less.


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