The Brief: How a Texas Community Responded to a Destroyed Mosque

Grandstand today

In South Texas, a fire-ravaged mosque is seen as a symbol of unity
Victoria’s Muslim community is getting a lot of help picking up the pieces of its burnt-out mosque, which has become a symbol of unity amid a period of national fear and discord.

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Governor Greg Abbott introduces emergency items (video)
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Protesters flood Texas Capitol as committee debates sanctuary city bill
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Global warming skeptic Lamar Smith hosts ‘Make EPA Great Again’ hearing
A Texas congressman has scheduled a committee hearing next week “to review the Environmental Protection Agency’s process for evaluating and using science in its regulatory decision-making activities.”

Committee sends ethics reform package to Senate
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Ted Cruz has $4.2 million for the 2018 re-election campaign
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has $4.2 million in cash as he prepares for a potentially competitive re-election race in 2018.

What you need to know today

Tragedy struck the southern Texas city of Victoria six days ago when the community mosque, a 16-year-old spiritual center for about 40 Muslim families, caught fire. All that remains are memories and ashes – and a community working to rebuild what was lost.

  • People still don’t know what caused the fire. It can take investigators months to determine if it was an accident or arson. “I hope and pray that it was an accident,” said Dr Shahid Hashmi, president of the Islamic Center, after the fire. “I hope it’s not a hate crime.”
  • The fire came hours after President Donald Trump’s immigration and travel ban. Last Friday, President Trump signed an executive order banning seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, sparking confusion and protests at airports across the country.
  • The outpouring of support for Victoria has not stopped. A synagogue in the area offered mosque members its space for daily prayer. The congregation’s GoFundMe account has already received over $1 million in donations. And several architectural firms have offered to design a new mosque for free.

Home News

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What we read

(Links below lead to external websites; paywall content is denoted with $)

Welcoming the Stranger: Faces of the Refugee Crisis, Texas monthly

Head of Homeland Security: Parts of the border wall will be transparent, The hill

Uber CEO quits Trump panel over ban The daily beast

State senator introduces bill to eliminate business franchise tax, The Houston Chronicle ($)

Parscale has plans for San Antonio, San Antonio Express-News ($)

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul: Don’t blame me for Trump’s travel ban, The Dallas Morning News ($)

For your calendar

Tuesday, February 7: Join us online or in person for meet several new legislatorsRep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, Rep. Justin Holland, R-Rockwall, and Rep. Victoria Neave, D-Dallas.

For a complete list of upcoming events, visit our site.

Photo of the day

Hundreds of people opposed to Senate Bill 4, a controversial proposal to end “sanctuary cities,” arrived at the Texas Capitol on Thursday to testify before the Senate State Affairs Committee. Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera. See more photos on our Instagram account.

Quote to note

Today, a concerned parent can upload images of a child’s skin condition for evaluation by a dermatologist instead of waiting weeks for an appointment. In areas where there are few or no psychiatrists, people can get the help they need through telemedicine. And innovative providers are using telemedicine to monitor post-surgery patients and those with chronic conditions.”

Bill PremierTeladoc board member and former U.S. senator, on the benefits of telemedicine via TribTalk

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Cassi Pollock. If you have any comments or questions, please email [email protected]. We are a non-profit newsroom and rely on readers like you to 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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