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US Texas representative votes against recognition of Ramadan

Republican Representative Tony Tinderholt faced backlash after saying his Christian faith prevents him from celebrating Ramadan
Tony Tinderholt speaking on the Floor on 13 July 2021 in Austin, Texas (AFP)

A Texas state representative has voted against a resolution recognising the holy month of Ramadan.

On Wednesday, Republican Representative Tony Tinderholt put out a statement saying, “As a combat veteran, I served beside many local translators who were Muslims and good people. I can also attest that Ramadan was routinely the most violent period during every deployment.”

“Texas and America were founded on Christian principles and my faith as a Christian prevents me from celebrating Ramadan.”

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Muslims are a fast-growing community in the state. There are at least 420,000 Muslims in Texas, the Texas Standard reported in 2021. On the eve of 22 March, Muslims all over the world began the month of Ramadan. 

The bill states that the "House of Representatives of the 88th Texas Legislature hereby recognize the holy month of Ramadan 2023 and extend to Muslims across the Lone Star State sincere best wishes for a meaningful and joyous observance."

It was sponsored by Salman Bhojani, who was sworn in as one of the first Muslims and South Asians in the Texas legislature earlier this year. 

The bill is still in the committee and has been moved to the Resolutions Calendar.

Bill Essayli, the first Muslim elected to the California state legislature, was one of the first to respond. 

“This is wrong. As the first Muslim elected to the [California Legislature], I have no issue commemorating Christmas or Passover. Our nation was founded on freedom of religion and we should celebrate all faiths, while ensuring people are always free to practice any faith.”

Fred Wellman, a combat army veteran and host of the On Democracy podcast, responded to Tinderholt and said, “Absolutely disgusting. You are the worst representative of the veteran community. We honour those we serve.”

“You’re just a Christian Nationalist. Do your multiple marriages honour Christianity, too, or did you skip that part of the book too?”

Brandon Friedman, a board member of the Dallas community police oversight board, also responded to the state representative. He said: “Tony, I promise you, your military service overseas did not make you a racist. Hundreds of thousands of US troops served in combat and did not become racists. This is on you, bud.”

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