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Tennessee anti-Muslim activist, Christian Zionist sparks controversy by saying U.S. ‘founded on Torah’

Laurie Cardoza-Moore is the founder of a Christian Zionist organization that claims to battle antisemitism

A Christian Zionist with a history of anti-Muslim activity who belongs to the Tennessee State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission has stated she thinks the United States is a country “founded on the Torah”

Laurie Cardoza-Moore is the founder of “Proclaiming Justice to the Nations,” (PJTN), a Christian Zionist organization that, per its website, aims to shape education for “Christians and Jews.” According to PJTN’s website, its mission is centered around “antisemitism” perpetrated by “the enemies of Israel.”

All around the country, schools are banning literature related to the Holocaust, trying to re-write history about Israel, pushing Critical Race Theory, and labeling parents as ‘domestic terrorists,’” PJTN writes on their website. 

In an Aug. 27 speech at the Nashville Women’s Conference, Cardoza-Moore claimed that she had worked with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to, she said, make the Hebrew Bible a requirement in Florida public schools. It was in that speech that she mentioned her belief that the Torah occupies a central place in American culture.

Cardoza’s anti-Muslim activities have included a statement in 2020 that she believes 30% of Muslims are terrorists, and her ill-fated efforts in 2010 to fight the construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

In a 2021 op-ed, Cardoza-Moore wrote:I am an American patriot raised in an immigrant family of Portuguese Jews that were forced to convert to Christianity during the Inquisition.” She used that family history to justify her history of anti-Muslim activism, which she refers to as “global antisemitism.”

“Her anti-Muslim comments and conspiratorial views should be nowhere near an educational institution,” Huzaifa Shahbaz of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Research and Advocacy said after Cardoza-Moore’s appointment to the commission. 

During the course of Cardoza-Moore’s appointment, which runs through June 2023, the commission is not set to review history and civics textbooks. 

The Tennessee State Senate advanced the confirmation of Cardoza-Moore’s appointment in March 2021. At that point, some lawmakers questioned whether and how her extremist views might impact her ability to make decisions for Tennessee students with diverse beliefs and backgrounds. 

In that Senate hearing, Democratic Chair Raumesh Akbari noted that PJTN had peddled what senators characterized as a 9/11 “truther hoax.” In a textbook passage from “Civic Economics and Geography” about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the group commented that a statement that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks was “highly contested (per architects and engineers for 9/11 Truth, and demolition experts) … There is ample evidence that refute the ‘official’ story of what was perpetrated that day.”

“Do you understand that other students who are being taught, some that are Muslim or other beliefs, do exist in our schools?” asked Rep. Torrey Harris, D-Memphis, in that 2021 hearing. “How does your belief coincide with how you will make decisions?”

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