Islamophobia Being Deployed Again In Another Pearland Political Race

Pearland City Council Pos. 7 candidates Woody Owens, left, and Dina Kasseb.  Photo: Houston Chronicle

Did the conservative white males in Pearland not get the message that Islamophobia is not okay at any time, especially when deployed during a campaign?

Islamophobic comments made by the incumbent aimed at Dalia Kasseb probably played a role in Mike Floyd comfortably winning his Pearland ISD school race, and now we may have a replay happening in the runup to the June 10 Pearland mayoral and city council runoffs.

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30 year old pharmacist Dalia Kasseb is making a historic run for a Pearland City Council seat as the first Muslim ever to run for office in Brazoria County.  On May 6 topped a crowded field of candidates in the Position 7 council race to capture 41% of the vote to Owens 21%

She noted in a Houston Chronicle story that when they have met in person, he seemed cordial, but Owens’ has been sharing anti- Muslim message and comments on his Facebook page,.

“Our few meetings have been very pleasant,”Kasseb said.  “But for him to be sharing that stuff on Facebook shows what he really believes.”

The controversy also has had an indirect impact on the Pearland mayor’s race.  Longtime Pearland Mayor Tom Reid is being challenged by 36 year old Quentin Wiltz,  The 91 year old Reid has held the mayor’s chair for a combined 34 years (1978-90, 1995-present), and publicly endorsed Owens on who served four terms on Pearland’s city council, back on April 6.

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But Reid has been silent since the story broke about the Islamophobic comments that Owens has been sharing on his Facebook page since February 2015.   If Reid doesn’t share those opinions, then he may want to open his mouth and say so before June 10 because early voting for the mayoral runoff election begins on May 30, and Wiltz garnered 45% of the vote back on May 6.

Pearland is a fast growing southern suburb of Houston that has grown from a small town of less than 5,000 residents in the 1960’s to over 130,000 people, and its population has tripled and gotten more diverse since 2000.  It is currently 47% Anglo, 25% Latinx, 17% African American and 9% Asian .

But it seems as though some peeps either aren’t aware of that or are being willfully ignorant about that fact, and the clock is ticking toward the June 10 conclusion of this runoff campaign.

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