The Tennessee House on Monday voted to confirm the appointment of Williamson County education and anti-Muslim activist Laurie Cardoza-Moore to a seat on the State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission.
A founder of the organization Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, Cardoza-Moore has fought to stop the construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro. In recent months, she spread misinformation about the presidential election and urged people to go to Washington, D.C., to “defend our Constitutional Republic” ahead of the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot that resulted in several deaths and damage at the U.S. Capitol.
When fighting construction of the mosque, Cardoza-Moore contended that “radical Islamic extremists” would use it as a foothold in the area.
“You have Christian music headquartered here,” she said. “The radical Islamic extremists have stated that they are still fighting the Crusaders, and they see this as the capital of the Crusaders.”
She also said that 30 percent of Muslims are terrorists.
"Her anti-Muslim comments and conspiratorial views should be nowhere near an educational institution,” said Huzaifa Shahbaz, Council on American-Islamic Relations Research and Advocacy coordinator. “Our students deserve to have an education free from hate. The textbook commission needs to do a better job in fostering a healthy environment for our students — one that acknowledges diversity and cultural differences."
The Senate previously confirmed Cardoza-Moore's appointment to the commission, which runs through June of next year. During that time, the commission is not set to review history and civics textbooks.
The House floor discussion was brief, with Knoxville Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson the lone member to speak on the appointment.
“I believe there are millions of people in this state that would serve this textbook commission well,” Johnson said. “Is this someone we elevate at the state level? I think we’re better than that, and I think this is a huge mistake.”
Committee debates were lengthier. Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Raumesh Akbari questioned Cardoza-Moore about her organization’s past conspiratorial complaints about a segment of a textbook describing the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Cardoza-Moore said she does believe in the facts of the attacks.
"While America slept, the hearts, minds and souls of our students were being influenced by disinformation,” Cardoza-Moore said during one committee debate. “Tragically we have seen the result over the past few months; our streets have been filled with rioting destructive American young people who have not been taught the values entrusted to us by our nation's founders ... nor have they been taught our nation's history — history which many seem intent to destroy."