In October of 2012, Rutherford County School Board member Aaron Holladay expressed his concerns to me regarding the influx of Muslim Students in his school district and shared his worries about why so many Muslim families were moving into Murfreesboro. Mr. Holladay then went on to state he home schools his own children because of the number of Muslim children attending his schools, and how poor the system is.
Fast forward to November 2017, with the intent to run for public office in 2018, Mr. Holladay has decided he may need the Muslim communities support, and decided he would accept an invitation to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, as they reached out to the entire school board of Rutherford County to visit their mosque.
Why would a school board member of a public school system think it was his duty to attend such a function? Let’s start with the invitation itself.
Change leaders? What change does Emily Mitchell, the former president of the Rutherford Education Association wish to instill when calling for school board members to visit a controversial Islamic center with radical ties? Did Ms. Mitchell call for “tours” of Christian or Jewish places of worship? Why would public school officials need to meet with leaders of the Muslim community?
Interestingly enough, Aaron Holladay was the only school board member to attend, which apparently he felt the need to justify his actions in an awkward, somewhat bizarre letter to his fellow colleagues. While communications spokesman for Rutherford County Schools James Evans states the event was described as a “goodwill” meeting and” not for the purpose of conducting school business”, Mr. Holladay seems to implicate it was his duty as an elected official.
Mr. Holladay has been provided the truth about the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. It was during a dinner meeting at a Ruby Tuesdays in Smyrna TN in Oct of 2012, that he was given information regarding the connections to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) aka Hamas, the Centers leaders, specifically Saleh Sbenaty had with them. Nihad Awad, a self proclaimed supporter of Hamas ( a designated terrorist organization in the U.S) has visited the center on many occasions, as well as many well known members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
While Mr. Holladay would like everyone to believe his self righteous reason for visiting the mosque, there are many reasons for his decision to attend. Now, just some of many questions need to be asked. Why did an elected school board member accept an invitation to a religious institution, specifically to meet with its leaders? Why are teachers such as Emily Mitchell attending meet and greets representing their schools?
For Mr. Holladay, the answers are undoubtedly two fold, he took advantage of an invitation to the mosque to not only potentially affect his voting as a school board member, he puffed his chest hopefully to gain votes and support for when he runs for office again. In 2016, Mr. Holladay ran against state Rep. Mike Sparks, losing by a huge margin.
“None of these places define who I am, nor does my passing through endorse their existence” says Mr. Holladay. But it does raise questions as to your ability to perform your job to determine the interest of all students. Oh but that doesn’t matter anymore, since you have your eyes on a bigger prize in 2018.