In a packed room on the bottom floor of the Capitol, seven members of the Texas House of Representatives sat listening and asking questions. They were not conducting a hearing, but rather a forum on Homeland Security titled "Defending Against Radical Islamic Terrorism in Texas."
It was hosted by freshman Representative Kyle Biedermann (R-New Braunfels).
"This is all about finding out the threat of Islamic radical terrorism in the State of Texas," said Biedermann. "As we see what's going on on the national level, our president is putting out the forefront of his agenda so we're not the ones starting this. We're the ones that want to be upfront and find the information."
The state leaders are aiming to learn what factors lead to acts of terrorism carried out in the name of Islam.
"This is about groups and organizations that want to overturn the government of the United States of America for their purposes," said Representative Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington). "This is not about the individual Muslim people."
During the forum, they discussed Sharia, the religious law that governs all Muslims, and heard from invited speakers including a former Muslim, a Muslim reformist, a self-proclaimed security expert and the Mayor of Irving, Texas. All shared their experiences and, at times, controversial opinions.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Capitol, a different group gathered.
"Muslim leaders, mosques and organizations across Texas have condemned, do condemn and will continue to condemn all acts of terror and violence," said Mufti Mohamed-Umer Esmail, the Imam of the Nueces Mosque.
The group of Texas Muslims, State Representatives and members of other faith communities spoke out against the forum and the survey Biedermann sent out ahead of it which polled their beliefs.
"We're disappointed and we feel very betrayed and singled out and absolutely discriminated against. That's not what we expect from our elected officials," said Imam Yasir Fazaga of the Islamic Center of Brushy Creek.
"In the name of Christ, I implore my Christian brothers and sisters of the Texas legislature to end your scapegoating of our Muslim neighbors which is un-Texan, un-American and un-Christian," added Dr. James Rigby, pastor of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church.
The men and woman gathered said they too have answers to Biedermann's questions.
"As citizens or residents of the United States, Muslims pledge allegiance to the US Constitution. Our children do it every day in public schools and Islamic schools," said Esmail. "As a scholar of Islam who studied Islam for over 10 years, the Sharia that Muslims follow commands Muslims to obey the law of the land they live in," he added.
Two different groups, fighting on the same side, in two different ways.