Zia Sheikh, imam at the Islamic Center of Irving
IRVING — The intense national spotlight on Islam has shifted to Irving, where Mayor Beth Van Duyne has accused mosque leaders of creating separate laws for Muslims and the City Council voted Thursday to endorse a state bill that Muslims say targets their faith.
The dispute has made Van Duyne a hero among a fringe movement that believes Muslims — a tiny fraction of the U.S. population — are plotting to take over American culture and courts.
“It fuels anti-Islamic hysteria,” said Zia Sheikh, imam at the Islamic Center of Irving. “Her whole point was to rile up her supporters. … The problem is we become the whipping boys.”
The mayor stands by her statements, including an interview with former Fox News host Glenn Beck last month, when she said Sheikh and other imams were “bypassing American courts” by offering to mediate disputes among their worshippers according to an Islamic code called Shariah…