On May 14, the Loudoun Times-Mirror published an Associated Press-produced story with this headline: “Del. Samirah says his Muslim faith attacked at first town hall.” Since I am the woman who asked him a question he deemed offensive, and which he flagrantly misquoted, I would like the opportunity to respond.

The question I asked Del. Samirah was this: “I’m wondering what would be the most accommodating way of introducing Sharia Law in the Commonwealth of Virginia? Should it start in the family court system, or some other venue?” I cited the family court system because that is where numerous Sharia adherents and sympathizers have attempted to get Sharia law recognized and enforced in the United States.

But Del. Samirah, when contacting media, said I asked this question, "How do you plan to implement Sharia Law in Virginia?” There is video of the Herndon Town Hall meeting, so you can hear my question for yourself and know that Del. Samirah misquoted me.

Given Ibraheem Samirah’s anti-Semitic statements on social media, his college activism with Students for Justice in Palestine, and his and his father’s association with organizations that have historical ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and funding Hamas, I thought it was appropriate to gauge his commitment to Sharia Law.

My question was a legal question, but Del. Samirah spun it into a religious one when he attempted to respond. I had carefully scripted my question to give him considerable latitude in how he would respond. He never answered my question, but rather chose to accuse me of maligning his religion.

After the town hall ended, I went up to Del. Samirah, shook his hand and said I meant no disrespect with my question, which I considered a legitimate one given his background. He scolded me and said, “No one should ask about someone’s religion.” So it seems no one should ask about Sharia. I don’t agree.

Catharine Trauernicht


(19) comments

Attempting Mindful

@DavisB, I am curious as to whether you actually read this article? There is a lot of vitriol. The name calling and accusations are getting old. As a parent, I’m getting sick of trying to explain what words like “xenophobe,” “anti-Semite,” “sexist,” and “racist” mean, and how they’re being misused and abused by angry people who have no other legitimate argument. If you (or anyone for that matter), are going to make such what should only be serious statements and accusations like that, back it up with specific facts. Explain your reasoning. Being unhappy or not liking something is not a legitimate one. Let’s take it a step further, if you choose to travel to another country, do you not research the country and its culture so that you understand how to behave in a respectful way? Do you not try to learn the language or at least have a book and/or app to help with translation? That is the proper way to go to another country. Why should we have to change to accommodate people who come from other countries? Why should we have to learn their language, bend to their cultures? There is a big difference between respecting people and being a good host. When you host someone, they are guests of yours or sometimes of friends or family members. Sure, you would try to accommodate any dietary restrictions and make them feel comfortable, but even then, there are expectations. What if they stole your silverware, threw your dishes across the room, trashed your house? That would not be acceptable. Would you bend over backwards to accommodate someone who forcefully broke into your house? Would you give your 14 year old sister or daughter to be the wife to some 60 year old man? Let’s say, that happened. Then let’s say that the 14 year old girl runs back home in terror, then instead of welcoming her back and providing comfort, the father pours fuel on her and lights her on fire because she disgraced him. Do you find that acceptable? This did happen, and it is not an uncommon scenario. I would advise you to do some research on things like Sharia Law and what is happening in countries and cities that claimed they were sanctuary places. That’s the “bending over backwards to accommodate someone who forcefully breaks into your house” scenario.
We can and should treat everyone with respect and dignity. We should also be kind and good people. One does NOT have to be in agreement with the thoughts and opinions of others to be kind, respectful, and dignified. We currently live in a country where we have the freedom to express our thoughts and opinions, choose and practice our religious beliefs provided that it does not negatively affect other people. We do not have the right to coerce, harm, steal from, invade or vandalize other peoples’ property. Unfortunately, not all people choose to follow the rules of a civilized society, so we also have the right to protect ourselves, families, and our livelihoods. So, yes, be respectful and kind, but also realize the we have the right to protect ourselves, families, friends, and property from harm, theft, and vandalism.


Attempting, I really do not understand your thought process. Chicago is not another country, which is where Samirah was born. There is freedom of religion in this country and if that is his religion, he should be free to worship it. He has never said that this country, his country, should change anything to follow Sharia law. Why was Catharine Trauernicht trying to make it sound as if he had? That is a personal, racial insult to him and his religion. It was not a nice question and it was brought up because she was trying to exploit him and his religion to be something it is not. He is a Muslim who abides by the laws set in the jurisdiction in which he lives. For Trauernicht claiming a misquote is absurd, both scenarios basically ask the same question, so her saying she “thought it was appropriate to gauge his commitment to Sharia Law” was a lame attempt to shield herself from being to much of a racist, the signs she and her friends carried with them prove otherwise. If that was her concern why didn’t she just ask that exact question? She instead states that Sharia adherents and sympathizers have attempted to get Sharia law recognized and enforced in the United States, trying to strike fear into people for something they don’t understand before they even know what it is. So her action was stupid, xenophobic, anti-muslim , just as DavisB said.


Perhaps most scary of all is that so many Democrats voted for this guy.


Why? because he's Muslim?


the race card is meaningless these days amerigirl




So let me get this straight, you ask a stupid, xenophobic, anti-muslim question insinuating that he wants to impose sharia law and now you are upset because you are not getting the respect you somehow expected? How very white militia of you

Chris McHale

Hello pot meet kettle.


This question needs to be asked. There is a growing effort to incorporate Sharia law into the judicial systems of Europe and the US. It is not xenophobic to ask Samirah was his position is on Sharia law. He simply could have answered that Sharia has no place in the US justice system and that would be the end of it. The fact that he didn’t is a concern especially given his history of inflammatory statements and his association with extremist groups. No question is stupid, only the answers or lack of them.


What makes you think there is any effort to incorporate Sharia law into the system? I see lots of attempts to integrate Christianity into it. He was elected to represent the people not himself which means he will listen to his constituents. The question was ridiculous, He should not have given it the any recognition or publicity. It was nothing short of an Islamophobic creating a false situation trying to make it look as if he is promoting his religion through his position.


white bashing....YAWN. DavisB didn't get the memo that frivolous accusations of racism from hypersensitive, whiny politically correct prisspots have ZERO meaning these days due to overuse.


Excellent editorial to highlight the fake news. I hear liberals screaming.


Don't you mean fake news to highlight conservatives fears?


Catharine, Not sure if this will help resolve your issue but as an independent candidate for Chair of the BOS I believe complete disclosure of viewpoint is required and appropriate. I grew up in a culturally mixed working class neighborhood in New Jersey which looking back was wonderful in that I got to see the "melting pot" effect of America as immigrant priorities merged into an American experience. There are critical differences between a melting pot of culturally proud people and a pot of chemicals if I can use the metaphor. With people the best parts of ones original culture survives to the benefit of all. You don't find Italians trying to require everyone eat the most delicious food in the world (my view) because it is so good most people want it. With chemicals you get the lowest common denominator effect meaning just a little bit of a hazardous material makes the entire pot hazardous. The conclusion is that if the preference for Sharia Law was a good one the majority of Americans would welcome it and it would be immersed into our melting pot society. As a lawyer since 1987 I will share my own opinion which is that only the best things from a foreign land should be embraced by a melting pot based society and Sharia Law isn't one of them. With the sufficient amount of petition support such a change could be put on the ballot for a vote which is another way America embraces change. Majority rules!


Bob, maybe I misunderstood your last sentence "With the sufficient amount of petition support such a change could be put on the ballot for a vote which is another way America embraces change. Majority rules!", but it is never appropriate give our constitution to incorporate any religious law into our civil system period, unless the constitution is changed. Sharia, Christian, Jewish, or any religious law is not appropriate for our civil society regardless if it is petitioned or even if a majority votes in favor. I hope that is not what you meant. For if it was then you could very well see religious law supersede civil law in places like Michigan or Wisconsin in the future.


not to mention the religious fanatics that have taken over in Georgia



Your question was absolutely appropriate and in typical fashion Mr. Samirah twisted it to protect his political aspirations. In fact your question was mild and deserved an honest response, which Samirah is incapable of doing. He is closely associated with radical Moslem extremists and unfortunately or perhaps by design the Democrats of Virginia refuse to disown him. The residents of Herndon which is his constituency are incredibly hypocritical in that they have signs that read ‘Hate has no home here’ , yet they helped elect an individual who is hateful and dishonest. The fact that the Democratic Party of VA supported this man and he received the endorsements of Wexton and Boysko says much about the lack of moral fiber and character he Democrats in VA have.


No it is not. It is totally inappropriate to ask how someone plans to integrate their religion into our laws. He has never said that he had that intention or that it had ever passed through his mind. All Catherine did was make a problem where there wasn't one by saying that she felt he planned to make Sharia law part of Virginia law. NO religion should be part of any law, it is one thing that our forefathers agreed on and frequently wrote letters between each other on how to keep it from happening. You say that Mr. Samirah is hateful with nothing to back it up. If you really think that is so and you are not just dem bashing, give us some facts.


It seems the LTM will not allow the posting of the sources to show you the history of Samirah’s comments or statements. Censorship at its best. I can only suggest you look and search for yourself to see articles from JNS the Washington Free Beacon, the Examiner, the Jewish Press...

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