Governor Bill Haslam says his administration’s coordination with a Muslim advocacy group has been “mischaracterized.” He says his office did not create the so-called American Muslim Advisory Council.
An anonymously run newsletter has sustained a near-daily barrage of attacks aimed at the Haslam Administration. The articles argue that the governor is giving Muslims an inside track to state government.
One point has been the hiring of a Muslim woman in the state’s economic development office. Another has been the creation of this Muslim advisory council. Governor Haslam says the state did not create the group, though the Department of Safety does send a law enforcement official to participate in meetings.
“It’s never our role as state government to implement any religious view point, but it is our job to be listeners in communities all across the state. Like a lot of things, this has been mischaracterized.”
In an attempt to silence critics, Deputy Governor Claude Ramsey defended the administration in a letter (page 1, page 2) dated August 15th and addressed to the Tennessee Republican Party. County GOP groups have been on the governor’s case all summer for what they see as the growing influence of Islam in the state.