Radical Islam or Extreme Conservatism? San Angelo Tea Party Wants Muslims Out

“There are four Muslim families in San Angelo…and that’s four too many,” Tea Party member Terry Campbell declared.

By then, the wide and brightly-lit hall had all but cleared, leaving behind only the faint smell of cookies and stale coffee, where a half-hour prior excitement and anger had rung out. There had been roughly 40 members and guests in attendance—a mostly white and graying audience identifiable by their red polos with the name "Tea Party" proudly emblazoned on the breast—but Campbell’s opinion hadn’t stood alone.

“There is 1.6 billion…Muslims in the world, and they claim that only 10 percent of the Muslims is radical Islamists,” Campbell continued. “That means there is 160 million Muslim terrorists in the world.

“Now, it only takes one with a car bomb to kill hundreds of people. Now, how can you tell which one out of ten is the bad guy?” he paused slightly, “I don’t trust any of them. “

“It’s hard to,” fellow Tea Party member Jack Plott agreed.

The group had gathered to hear Dorrie O’Brien, author of  “500+ Islamic Words You Should Know” and co-director of ACT! for America in Texas, speak on Sharia Law and the Muslim Brotherhood at the bi-monthly San Angelo Tea Party meeting at the West Texas Training Center.

The presentation topic and timing were calculated, Campbell confided. Held just hours before the stroke of midnight on the eve of September 11 when the nation is already sensitive to the Muslim population, the Tea Party hosted the presentation with the intent of educating their audience, in line with the objectives of ACT! for America.

Around 40 people attended the San Angelo Tea Party meeting on Tuesday to hear ACT! for America's co-director in Texas give a presentation based on her book, "500+ Islamic Words You Should Know". (LIVE! Photo by Chelsea Schmid)
Around 40 people attended the San Angelo Tea Party meeting on Tuesday to hear ACT! for America's co-director in Texas give a presentation based on her book, "500+ Islamic Words You Should Know". (LIVE! Photo by Chelsea Schmid)[/caption]

According to their website, "ACT! for America is a non-partisan, non-sectarian organization whose mission is to give Americans concerned about national security, terrorism, and the threat of radical Islam, a powerful, organized, informed and mobilized voice."

Further, the ACT! website states that the organization successfully combats the threat of radical Islam “through informed community action, education, public policy initiatives and grassroots lobbying.”

What exactly constitutes radical Islam versus regular Islam, however was not mentioned in the presentation, nor was the speaker able to expound upon the idea.

When asked by a member of the audience whether or not there is “such a thing as a ‘moderate’ Muslim,” O’Brien hesitantly replied: “I don’t know how to answer that question any more than anyone else does,” she said. “because you don’t know. Islam itself, as far as I’m concerned, is a poisoned well.”

This theme was carried out consistently throughout the presentation.

“We are at war in the U.S. today,” began O’Brien in her opening statements, “with the Muslim Brotherhood. Make no doubt about it,” she continued.

The presentation was based primarily on O’Brien’s book, and began with a brief but vivid description of the Islamic faith and Sharia Law.

“Sharia Law was made from the Qu’ran. It is ‘the perfect book’…so justice to them is the result of the full application and enforcement of Sharia Law,” O’Brien said, citing that this type of justice system and punishment exists in place of the system of man in Muslim cultures.

There is a fear that allowing Muslims certain freedoms to exercise the rites of their religion in the United States will lead to their pushing for the institution of Sharia Law in governing justice among themselves.

In an article posted by Trish Choate on September 28, 2009 on the Abilene Reporter-News website titled “Congressional candidate: No More Muslims to U.S.”, this fear is addressed:

 [Congressional hopeful Canyon] Clowdus wants to halt Muslim immigration to stop what the blog [Dr. Bulldog & Ronin] termed a “Stealth Jihad” and “creeping sharia” to replace the Constitution with Islamic religious law.

The blog pushes the wrongheaded idea that there is a huge clash of civilizations between Christianity and Islam, said Eric Ward of the Chicago-based Center for New Community, a faith-based organization including Christians, Jews and Muslims.

“The truth of the matter is that the only clash that’s going on is amongst extremist elements in Christianity and Islam,” Ward said.

The question concerning the San Angelo Tea Party then becomes ‘Are there elements of extremism present in the party?’

During the Q and A session after O’Brien’s presentation, one member of the audience asked: “As Americans, what can we do to slow this down, or to stop them from coming here?"

“Vote for the right damn president!”, O’Brien replied. “…get out there and spread the word.

“This is a damn war we’re in!”, O’Brien continued. “And if we can’t get our troops out—and that is what you guys are all here for, to get the troops out—say the right words, talk the right words, get out there and say ‘we’re at war, and it’s here, in the United States’. It’s the best thing we can do is education…”

As O’Brien continued to talk about the importance of electing conservative officials to public office, a man in the front row interrupted with a shout: “Would’ve been for terminance [sic],” the man said.

“Well, I don’t won’t to talk about that tonight,” O’Brien replied. But the audience still wasn’t quite ready to wind down.

“We got to become crusaders and put that cross on our chest again,” another man spoke out from somewhere in the middle as O’Brien concluded her speech.

In her final comments, Dorrie O’Brien clearly stated that she would not tell the public that every single Muslim in the United States would turn on them, but that every single member of the Muslim Brotherhood would, and that they must be stopped.

Dorrie O’Brien is a graduate of the Strategic Engagement Group for the Study of Islamic Doctrine in Washington, D.C. She is also an ACT! for America National Mentor and Chapter Leader based in Grand Prairie. She may be booked for one-hour presentations and continuing education on the erosive creep of Islam, The Muslim Brotherhood and Sharia Law in the United States, her business card states.

For more information on ACT! for America, visit www.actforamerica.org

For more information on the San Angelo Tea Party, visit http://sanangeloteaparty.org/



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This is extreme ignorance and intolerance, it makes me sad that people here in town are this naive. I consider myself conservative in ways, but I'll have no part in this kind of hate. No, we're not at war with Muslims today, we're at war with a radical percentage that's just as ignorant and misguided as these people in this meeting are. What this boils down to is ignorance vs ingnorance. I'm not a Muslim apologist - I'm not perfect when it comes to these things - seeing someone in a turban at an airport might make me a little nervous, honestly. However, the difference here is I would rather take the time to get to know the person in the turban before I labelled him one way or the other.
Sad, Thank you for wanting to get to know us. We are really very regular people. I always say, religion is like clothes. We all have an essence and religion doesn't change it. That's why you have criminals and hateful people who claim religion all over the world. If we are blessed, we use religion as a tool to try to become better people. Anyway, that's what I think. Thank you for being a human being and seeing me as one too.
I want to say an apology for this man. Please, don't view the rest of us in the Concho Valley as some back woods, racist, good ol' boy. Many of us actually care about people regardless of their race, religion, political views, or sexual preference. I for one would love to see Terry Campbell punched in the mouth.
I grew up in San Angelo and currently live in Austin. I came to believe the city's isolation made it unique and charming, but this article demonstrates out how a small town can sometimes have a small mindset. I am really disappointed to see this cultural insensitivity, fear mongering, and blatant prejudice towards people of the Muslim faith. If you think that all people who follow Islam are a threat, I encourage you to examine what might be influencing your perspective. Is it logical to think that all Muslims pose a threat? Are you knowledgeable enough in this religion to make this claim? Do people who are educated on this matter share this perspective? Is it possible that the people who are saying these things about Islam are saying them out of fear and not fact? I'm concerned for the innocent families that have been targeted by this event. Imagine living around this prejudice and what it could do to their well being. Ms. Schmid, great article. I commend you for writing it.
It is so sad. I thank God. I spent about 15 years of my life wishing I could live in Texas, but I never made it. What I don't understand is the Old South. You lost the Civil War. You lost when you fought against Martin Luther King. Obama has beaten you twice. In Texas, there is a huge rising Hispanic population. Why this insistence even after loss after loss, that you will only accept white Christians when it is clear that that is not even American anymore? Everyone, whites included are leaving the church. Islam is also growing in America. Imagine, in a small town in west central Texas near Mexico...and there are Muslims even there. We pray for them. We all pray for them and that God has decided to test them by placing them in the middle of a bunch of hateful white racists. At the Presidential ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, led by MLK. one of the things that stood out was the music. One of the main points the Obama team drove home was that true Christianity was Martin Luther King. One of the songs performed at the ceremony was Lionel Richie's JESUS IS LOVE. I am a Muslim and we are taught that our Prophet was the most gentle and loving man who walked the face of the earth. I used to be Christian and I know Christians believe the same thing about Jesus. For true believers in Christianity and Islam, this is our competition. The tea party lynch mobs in no way represent Jesus. The big cross you want to put on your chest is a lie, because it's the love in your heart that matters. Jesus and our Prophet were outsiders. They began as single believers in a sea of disbelief. They didn't have the luxury and comfort of the mob as a place to hide. They had a message and God and a mission and an ability to reach people, Jesus was never a part of any string-em-up, hate group. God is not with fake hateful Christians or fake Muslims and it is sad that some people are so threatened by what's different that they would rather embrace hate and lie and call it religion rather than practice what Jesus and Muhammad actually taught.
“There are four Muslim families in San Angelo…and that’s four too many" "How can you tell which one out of ten is the bad guy? I don’t trust any of them." If you don't read anything else about this article, those two statements should tell you enough about the character of Terry Campbell. Does this person not understand that white folk commit atrocities just as bad as Muslim extremists do? How many white members of the KKK have brutally murders blacks throughout the history of the USA? What about the boys from Columbine? They were white. What about Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh? They were white. Are people like this so ignorant of the fact that it doesn't matter what your race, religion, sexual preference, or political view is, there will be people from your group that will commit heinous acts.
"It's" is an abbreviation for "it is." The word you're looking for is "its." It does not need an apostrophe to make it possessive.
Tea party serving Koolaid to the masses. They could only round up 40 people to tolerate their hate filled message. Thank God they didn't have a larger audience. I don't believe west Texas, even small town west Texas is this full of hateful racial prejudice. Coming from a white Christian woman, Jesus is love. And this is not love. I have no doubt there are more than 4 Muslim families living in San Angelo--law abiding, tax paying, upstanding, conservative citizens, possibly neighbors--hope that doesn't leave them shaking in their longjohns tonight. good grief.
I just want to cry. I went to ASU for both my undergrad and graduate degrees. This disgusts me! Shame on you San Angelo Tea Party, Shame on YOU!!!
The Tea Party movement didn't start out like this......it's just been hijacked by idiots. It was initially a group of people united against too much government control. Their intentions used to be noble, but the movement is so fragmented all across the nation that different interest groups control different segments, and there's no clear goals anymore.
I agree! The first Tea Party was by people who were tolerant and loving, hence the "Revolution" logo with "Love" standing out in it. They just simply wanted smaller government all around. Now these crazy people have taken it and turned it into something it's not. :(
I was born and raised here... I have seen people come and go. Mr. C. needs to leave and NEVER come back! San Angelo, we are better that this. Have we not learned any tolerance in this many years? Are we living in backwoods ignorance? NO, I don't want to think we are. This man and many like him, take our FEARS and use them to his advantage to grow more hate. YES, there are bad Muslims YES, there are bad Hispanics. YES, there are bad African Americans. But Guess What? THERE ARE BAD "GOOD OLE WHITE BOYS" TOO! Muslims are humans not animals, LIKE SOME WOULD HAVE US TO BELIEVE. They are people and families very similar to us. San Angelo taught me to be a Texas Country Girl. But more than that, San Angelo taught me to be an American Country Girl proud to be a Texan. I raised my children the way San Angelo taught me. I taught them to see people, not color... Love God and Country... Protect loved ones... Forgive and forget but stand up for yourself and those in need. All these things, I learned from SAN ANGELO. Never once did I learn, but only "Christian white folks" and I never passed that to my family. San Angelo taught me better. I hope San Angelo is STILL better than that! Don't let FEAR lead you to follow a racist. It can only lead to more HATRED! Isn't there enough of that already?? SAN ANGELO, DON'T LET HATRED LEAD US!
I don't quite know how I stumbled upon this story and your website, but that it involved the town of San Angelo caught my eye. I was stationed at Goodfellow AFB from 2004-05 for an officer tech school and came away with very fond memories of the town and its people. It's heartening to see all the comments rejecting this un-American bigotry. San Angelo struck me as a fundamentally decent place. What's especially scary is how the one TP member claimed to know exactly how many Muslim families live in San Angelo. That implies he knows exactly who they are and where they live.
What a sad bunch of ignorant people. Also, what's with the unrelated photo of a Muslim woman at the top? Muslim women living in the state don't dress like that
Some of them do. Ever been to Richardson? There's a GREAT Middle Eastern restaurant there. The women I saw in that area or in the restaurant covered. Not all of them, but there were some that did.
nandn, Sun, 09/15/2013 - 20:14
Has no one thought about the fact that the writer of this article has her own bias. It's pretty easy to go into a group like the Tea Party and find an "extreme" person and then act like he represents the whole group. Be careful not to be so quick to judge, before you've done your homework. Journalists are great at twisting the truths and writing half truths. I think it is just amazing how quick we are to believe something just because it is in print. I know people who were at that meeting and it did not look like she painted.
You say you know people that attended the meeting. Did you attend? Better yet did the San Angelo Tea Party invite a speaker that does not support freedom of religion. Must have been a real shock for such a constitution loving group.
SA, Sun, 09/15/2013 - 21:30
Ms. Chelsea, I'm not sure I believe your biased piece of journalism. Just the mere fact that you exaggerated by stating "mostly white and graying", it is obvious that you have an agenda, to paint the Tea Party as racist and intolerant. The photo you provided proves you incorrect. So, I'm not sure I trust your assessment of that meeting since you can't accurately report demographics. Yes, there are extreme views in every party, but you took great pleasure in quoting a few that fits your narrative. Did you bother to interview anyone there? Did you ask questions and seek clarification or did you just find elements to support your own opinion of the Tea Party?
How does that show she has an agenda? If that's what was at the meeting, then that's not biased, that's a fact. It also paints a picture for the reader.
While it might be argued that the author adds a bit of bias I would suspect not so much as your reply. You stated that the "photo [...] provided proves you(the author) incorrect" I downloaded and enhanced the photo just to check your allegation and found an entirely white crowd with perhaps two younger individuals not fitting the "greying" description. So when you contend that the description of the attendees as "mostly white and graying" is an exaggeration when it clearly is quite accurate, then you out yourself as the one with the agenda. While not a resident of the Concho Valley I do live nearby and business finds me in SA on occasion. There and in other central and western towns I sometimes find myself coming into contact with Tea Party adherents. These individuals frequently want to talk politics and my evaluation of their usual rants causes me to agree with the author's and several commenter's... those still flying the TP banner tend to be hateful and bigoted... and mostly ignorant of fact. Many of the original Tea Party members find the hate and bigotry abhorrent, and many have left to return to the ranks of reasonable Republicans. I suspect we will be seeing more defections as the nature of the core group becomes more clear.
First off, they don't know where and how the REAL Tea Party Started. Time to leave that name behind as they taint it with their hatred and intolerance. Second, I currently live in the Middle East and I LOVE the Muslim people. (How can I not as a follower of Christ, too?) They are so kind and hospitable. They love me as well. I'd have to say that one of my best friends in the whole world I met here (and he's Chechen too), and I love him so much. He, along with the other Chechens and Arabs I know, have taken care of me so much here. It's been amazing. It's sad that these people take in the garbage that's put out there about these people and take it as truth. I was hoping to run for office one day, but I WILL NOT lie about my love for Muslims and all people everywhere so people will vote for me.
All throughout history Jews have gotten ganged up on by crowds of morons and thrown out of places. I'm Jewish and all of that lives inside me. That's why it just makes me so sick hearing about these tiny little people wanting to run those four Muslim families out of town. If they do leave town then they can come live right next to me.
These sets of comments were originally posted by me on Face Book (which is where I originally came across this article): 1st Set of Comments: "... TeaPublicans = American Taliban. What far too many White Catholics and White Anglo Saxon Protestants fail to comprehend is that, wherever in the USA the TeaPublicans truly hold sway, (as we have already seen practical evidence) they will wage a path of destruction just as horrendous as the Taliban has done in the Middle East and Asia, etc. It will happen like this: once the TeaPublicans have had their way in oppressing or destroying Women, Non-Whites, members of the LGBT community, and - yes - Children, the TeaPublicans = American Taliban would then set about oppressing and destroying those they perceive as not being White enough, and those they deem to not meet the standards of their corrupted version of Christianity (which has no connection whatsoever with Jesus Christ)." 2nd Set of Comments: "...from my perspective (as a non-white individual who grew up in an overwhelmingly white community [San Angelo, TX]), this Tea Party/TeaPublican activity is simply the ever-present undercurrent now being fully out in the open. And this should matter to everyone because it impacts everyone. What Terry Campbell has done with his "four too many" public statement is ushered the people in his group across the threshold of common human decency, into that particular zone wherein racism/bigotry intersect with violence. In one fell swoop, Terry Campbell has: (1) stoked the fires of irrational fear, (2) given people permission to commit ever increasing acts of violence, (3) given himself plausible deniability - Campbell can simply say all he is doing is exercising his constitutional right to express his opinion and that he has no responsibility for the actions of others... leaving Terry Campbell free to continue stirring the cauldron of racism/bigotry so that it continuously boils over. So… what does this mean for those of us who find this reprehensible? For… anyone who cares about authentic justice and human rights for all, we must share with others the fact that this is going on. We must speak up about it and speak out against it. We must ensure that others are made aware. For, if the history of humanity teaches us anything, silence is more than just complacency. Silence is tacit agreement"
I see from their website that the San Angelo Tea Partiers have a seminar scheduled on the 28th called "the roots of liberty: not just another lecture on the constitution." I wonder: will they get around to discussing the "free exercise" clause of the first amendment?

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