Muslim American advocacy groups are speaking out against the appointment of activist Laurie Cardoza-Moore to the Tennessee State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission. The commission recommends textbooks and educational materials to the Tennessee State Board of Education.
Cardoza-Moore is the founder of a group called Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN). According to the organization’s mission statement, “PJTN educates, advocates, and moves to activate Christians, Jews and all people of conscience in building a global community of action and prayer in support of Jews and Israel.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed PJTN as an anti-Muslim hate group. PJTN asserts that the organization is being targeted for defending Israel.
The Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the U.S., called on Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton to revoke Cardoza-Moore’s appointment.
CAIR notes that PJTN opposed “Access Islam,” a U.S. Department of Education program which teaches students about Islam. CAIR also points out that Cardoza-Moore opposed the construction of a mosque in Tennessee.
“This individual should not be anywhere near the selection of textbooks in Tennessee or any state. She clearly has anti-Muslim views that inevitably would negatively impact any textbook selection. We would urge the speaker to rescind the appointment immediately,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper in a statement.
“This has been a conspiracy theory nationwide, it’s not just Tennessee, that somehow, if students are taught the basics about the faith of more than one billion Muslims, that somehow, they’re going to be automatically converted into being Muslims, and it’s all utter nonsense,” Hooper told Fox 17.
The American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC), a Tennessee-based nonprofit, also criticized Cardoza-Moore’s appointment.
AMAC Executive Director Sabina Mohyuddin said, “Our children deserve to learn history as it happened. Our children deserve experts. And the commission will lose credibility with her on it.”
“It gives a strong message of who really belongs, whose history matters, whose narrative matters and whose doesn’t. Our legislature is supposed to be representing all of us,” Mohyuddin told The Tennessean.
Cardoza-Moore told Fox 17, “I have no problem with Islam being in the textbooks. It’s when you are promoting anti-Semitic views, when you’re pushing religion, when you violate the U.S. and state constitutions by favoring a religion over all others, then yes, I’m going to interject, and I’m going to speak up.”
“I don’t care if the group is Muslim, or Christian, or Jewish or White Supremacist, if you are an anti-Semite, PJTN is going to come after you and expose you.”
According to The Tennessean, the Tennessee General Assembly still must approve Cardoza-Moore’s appointment. However, Cardoza-Moore is already included in the list of commission members on the Tennessee Department of Education website.
AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story.