The mayor of Irving, Texas, who has expressed belief that Sharia law is putting US laws in jeopardy, has reportedly said she will be leaving her position to work in the Trump administration.
At a luncheon on Thursday, Beth Van Duyne told a gathering of 300 people that she would be able to make an official announcement next week, The Dallas Morning News reported.
"I keep saying next week because I've been told the paperwork is going to be done next week," Van Duyne reportedly said. "But next week I'll actually be able to make an announcement."
Van Duyne was spotted at Trump Tower in New York days after the November presidential election. In February, she announced that she would not be seeking a third term as mayor, and told The Dallas Morning News she is "looking at some opportunities."
The White House and Van Duyne's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment from BuzzFeed News.
Van Duyne, who was first elected mayor of the Dallas suburb in 2011, gained national prominence in February 2015 after she responded on Facebook to reports that Sharia law was taking hold in parts of Texas.
"Sharia Law Court was NOT approved or enacted by the City of Irving," Van Duyne wrote. "Our nation cannot be so overly sensitive in defending other cultures that we stop protecting our own." Van Duyne later told former Fox News host Glenn Beck that a local Muslim religious leader was "bypassing American courts."
The "court" Van Duyne was referring to was "a mediation panel comprised of arbitrators settling civil disputes using Sharia law in non-binding decisions," the Washington Post reported. "Similar religious tribunals have existed for decades in the American Jewish and American Christian faith communities to resolve disputes, most especially within families,” an Islamic Center of Irving statement read at the time of the controversy.
Sharia — a religious code of conduct, no different than those contained in other Abrahamic religions — has often been used as a fear-inducing term associated with anti-Western beliefs in recent years. Sharia is similar to canon law of the Catholic Church or the requirement that those who follow Judaism eat kosher foods.
In the following years, the mosque was the site of a number of protests by armed militias and the Ku Klux Klan.
Van Duyne is part of a small but growing number of Americans and politicians who believe in an unfounded conspiracy theory based on no evidence that Muslims in America are trying to subvert the US Constitution. As a result, 13 states have introduced anti-foreign law bills in 2017, and nine states already have a law on the books. Many advocates see these bills and those like it, as unnecessary and redundant because their provisions violate the Constitution of the United States. Van Duyne urged the Irving city council to back a similar state bill in 2015.
Van Duyne made headlines again in November 2015 when she posted on Facebook her support for the decision to arrest Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old student who brought a homemade clock to his high school that teachers suspected could be a "hoax bomb."
"I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat," she wrote. "As a parent, I agree that if this happened to my child I would be very upset."
Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2
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