If the LGBTQ community ever hopes to win over hate, we have to be willing to speak up against hate wherever we see it

Way back on May 19, police in Euless here in North Texas arrested a 42-year-old white woman named Elizabeth Wolf after she allegedly tried to grab a 6-year-old boy and then tried — again, of course, allegedly — to drown the boy’s 3-year-old sister while the children’s mother stopped to attend to the scratch Wolf inflicted on her little boy’s hand. This all happened after Wolf verbally attacked the mother while she and her two children were just trying to enjoy themselves in the swimming pool at the apartment complex where they lived.

What on earth did this mother and two small children do to warrant these attacks, this attempted murder? They were, as CNN reports, “visibly Muslim,” and the mom was wearing a traditional hijab with her “modest swimwear.”

According to what witnesses told police, Wolf was questioning the woman about “where she was from” and if the two children were hers and saying that the mother was not an American, among other racist comments.

When the mother answered, Wolf, the white woman, reached out and tried to grab the little boy, leaving him with a scratch on his finger. When the mom stopped to help her son, Wolf grabbed the little girl and “forced her underwater,” according to a press release on the incident from the Texas Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Thankfully, the mother was able to rescue her daughter from Wolf, although the child was left coughing up water as a result. (Again thankfully, both children were checked out by paramedics and were physically ok.)

Officers were called to the scene, and Wolf, as she tried to leave the area, was arrested on charges of public intoxication.

Elizabeth Wolf (Euless Police Department mug shot)

Had you heard anything about this? Did you see any news coverage? I didn’t — not until this past Friday, June 21 — more than a month later — when the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued press release describing the incident, identifying the family as being Muslim and Palestinian, and calling on federal law enforcement to investigate the incident “as a hate crime and take all precautions to keep the Muslim family and the Muslim community safe.”

The mother and her children are, by the way, American citizens, although that really shouldn’t make any difference in the grand scheme of things.
Some crazy woman attacked two children and literally tried to murder one of those children all because their mother was dressed in a hijab, and that did not make headlines until more than a month later. There’s something wrong with that. Oh, there are all kinds of headlines now, but all the stories are dated within the last few days, and the attack happened more than a month ago.

Meanwhile, within the last seven days, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — the state’s top law enforcement official (allegedly) — has sent out an email celebrating “Sanctity of Life Day” on the anniversary of the SCOTUS ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Ignoring racist, xenophobic physical attacks on a mother and her two small children while celebrating a court ruling and the ensuing laws that have endangered the lives of countless women and calling it Sanctity of Life Day — surely even the most clueless among us can see the sickening irony there?

Why isn’t Paxton sending out press releases denouncing this horrific attack and joining the call for federal officials to investigate this as a hate crime? Why aren’t Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issuing those press releases? How about the mayor and city council over in Euless? Have they spoken up?

Come to think about it, who among us in the LGBTQ community have spoken out to call this attack a hate crime and demand it be investigated as such? We are quick to call out hate-based attacks on our community, but shouldn’t we be just as quick to speak out against hate targeting others?

I am sure someone out there reading this is thinking to themselves: “Why should I defend Muslims when Muslims hate LGBTQ people and make laws making us criminals and sentencing us to death?”

Well, we have to learn to differentiate between religions and religion-based governments. There are, I am sure, millions of Muslim people who hold no animosity whatsoever against LGBTQ people and millions who probably disagree with those “kill the gays” laws and the governments that impose them.

But despite all that, the simple answer is that two wrongs don’t make a right. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

We want law enforcement at every level to investigate and prosecute crimes of hate against our community. So we should expect the same of law enforcement at every level when it comes to crimes of hate and violence directed at any group or community.

We have to speak up against hate in all its forms. We have to defend not just ourselves but all victims of hate — whether we agree with them on everything else or not, whether they like us or not. Hate is hate is hate, regardless of who it targets. And hate breeds hate.

Those that hate that mother and her children because they were “visibly Muslim” will no doubt hate me and you for being “visibly LGBTQ.” If we expect others to stand up for them, we have to be willing to stand up and speak out for them. Come to think of it, whether they ever speak up for us or not, we have to speak up for them.

Change has to start somewhere. Let it start with you and me.

Tammye Nash is managing editor of Dallas Voice. Opinions expressed here are her own.