published Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Hamilton County GOP not likely to join in condemnation of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam

NASHVILLE — Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Marty Von Schaaff said the group has not acted on a tea party-backed resolution that condemns Republican Gov. Bill Haslam for failing to fire Democrats and openly gay employees in state government and for hiring a Muslim woman.

At least seven county GOP groups, including the Grundy County Republican Party, have adopted the resolution or scaled-back versions of it.

“I’ve got to plead a little bit of ignorance about what this is,” said Von Schaaff, noting that he is still sorting through emails that have prompted the GOP county organizations to pass some version of the proposed resolution.

Asked whether the local party intends to take any action, he said “No, I don’t at this time. There hasn’t been any discussion with party officers.”

One of the resolution’s targets is Samar Ali, a Muslim attorney who was recently hired by the state Department of Economic and Community Development. She heads efforts to help Tennessee businesses export their products in foreign markets and also oversees the department’s four international offices in Canada, Germany, Japan and China.

The resolution says Ali is “an expert in Shariah Compliant Finance, which is one of the many ways Islamic terrorism is funded.”

State officials say Ali’s state role has nothing to do with Shariah law.

Von Schaaff said this “is a lady who grew up in Waverly, Tenn., and has Republican ties, and I understand she is Muslim. My personal concern is Shariah law itself. I do not favor going in that direction, but I don’t know that this is what all this is about.”

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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