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The Brief: After controversial survey, lawmaker hosts summit on 'radical Islamic terrorism'

A state representative is holding a "Homeland Security Forum" at the state Capitol today, but a controversial survey the lawmaker sent out to "Islamic Leaders" polling their beliefs may overshadow the event.

State Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, at a Texas Tribune event on Sept. 15, 2016.  

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What you need to know

State Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-New Braunfels, is holding a "homeland security summit" this morning at the Capitol "to thoroughly understand the critical threat of radical Islamic terrorism in Texas.” But a controversial survey the lawmaker sent out to "Islamic Leaders" polling their beliefs may overshadow the event. 

  • The letter to mosque leaders and Muslim student associations asked if they support the “Declaration of Muslim Reform Movement,” among other things. Biedermann said in a statement the survey was sent to gather responses ahead of his forum.
  • But Texas chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called it Islamophobic, suggesting it was intended to limit participation in next week's Texas Muslim Capitol Day.  
  • This isn't the first time a lawmaker has caused controversy around Texas Muslim Capitol Day. In 2015, a different state lawmaker instructed her staff to ask Muslim visitors to declare allegiance to the United States. 
  • The forum begins at 8:30 a.m. and the press conference at 9 a.m. Follow Texas Tribune reporters Sanya Mansoor and Alexa Ura for updates. 

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What we're reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $) 

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For your calendar 

This morning, The Texas Tribune will moderate a conversation on mental health with State Reps. Joe Moody and Four Price. Watch online

Photo of the day

Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz watches House proceedings from the public gallery at the Capitol on Wednesday morning. Saenz is concerned about President Donald Trump's efforts to build a border wall near the city of Laredo. Photo by Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"If we continue to deny the problem, we will never be able to marshal the energy and resources needed to create a solution. Without an A-F system like this, we won’t know if more money in the system is actually making a difference."

— Tom Torkelson, CEO of IDEA Public Schools about the A-F grading system for public schools via TribTalk

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Sanya Mansoor. If you have feedback or questions, please email We're a nonprofit newsroom, and count on readers like you to help power newsletters like this. Did you like what you read today? Show your appreciation by becoming a member or making a donation today.

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