Harris Sheriff Apologizes to Muslims for Offensive E-mail

July 1, 2008

Author: Matt Stiles and Rosanna Ruiz

Source: The Houston Chronicle


Reacting to the latest controversy about his office in recent months, Sheriff Tommy Thomas on Monday apologized in person to a local Muslim group for insensitive e-mails sent by members of his staff.

Monday's appearance before the Islamic Society of Greater Houston was Thomas' second apology in recent days over staff e-mails that surfaced in media reports last week, including one message from a top commander that mocks Islam's core tenets.

"I think we've opened some lines of communication that certainly may not have existed before," Thomas said of the meeting. "We will have a continuing dialogue."

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, the sheriff also responded to concerns about e-mails sent by people in his office that could be offensive to Chinese, Hispanics and others.

Also Monday, Thomas said he would discipline his jail commander, Chief Deputy Mike Smith, who forwarded one e-mail that used the name Muhammad, the prophet and founder of Islam, to make a joke about eating pork.