- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Houston city councilman has fired a member of his staff who tried to block the appointment of a Harris County Republican precinct chair because he is Muslim.

The firing comes almost a month after Pastor Trebor Gordon was caught on video ranting against Islam at a meeting for the Harris County GOP.

“I move to remove the chairman and founder of the Muslim Council of USA Syed Shaid Ali on the grounds that Islam does not have any basis or any foundation. It is in total opposite of our foundation,” Mr. Gordon, the director of community outreach for at-large Houston city councilman Mike Knox, said at the meeting, the Houston Press reported. “I would ask you to take into consideration the fact that Islam and Christianity do not mix.

“We can continue to try to be inclusive and I get that. That matters to me,” he said at the time. “But I will also tell you that during my prayer this man did not bow his head. During the Pledge of Allegiance he did not utter a word, he didn’t even try to fake it and move his lips. He halfway tried to put his hand over his heart for the Texas pledge. If you believe that a person can practice Islam and agree to the foundational principles of the Republican Party, it’s not right. It’s not true. It can’t happen. There are things on our platform that he and his beliefs are in total opposite from.”

The video went viral and Mr. Gordon made national headlines. Though Mr. Knox immediately condemned the comments, he initially ignored calls to terminate his employee, Houston Public Media reported.

“But during the course of the weeks that followed, it became apparent that Mr. Gordon was making decisions that I felt were incompatible with his ability to serve me in this office and it was creating a distraction,” Mr. Knox said.

“I know that many people wanted this to happen much quicker, but we want to make sure that we follow the existing process,” he added.

The Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) cheered the decision.

“We thank Council Member Knox for taking our concerns seriously and for sending a firm message that religious intolerance has no place in his office, in City Hall or in our beloved city of Houston,” CAIR-Houston Executive Director Mustafaa Carroll said in a statement.

Mr. Carroll said CAIR has offered sensitivity training for city council staff and asked Mr. Knox to initiate a resolution denouncing Islamophobia.

John Moss, Mr. Knox’s chief of staff, said the councilman has submitted the proposed resolution to the mayor’s office, Houston Public Media reported.

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