Cindy Pugh, candidate for state rep., compares Muslim women to garbage bags

Tea Party candidate for state representative Cindy Pugh uses her Facebook profile to defend Scott Walker, criticize Barack Obama, and boast about her ongoing campaign to defeat incumbent state Rep. Steve Smith, a Republican from Mound.

But she also used it recently to compare Muslim women and children clad in traditional Islamic garb to garbage bags.

Pugh shared the above photo on May 21 with the following commentary: “Disturbing … that women & little girls are OK with dressing like this!!! What will it take for these women to stand up and say, ‘NO’!? Wondering if they will ever do that?!” The photo was originally uploaded by “Proud to be an Infidel,” a Muslim-bashing page with the following slogan: “It’s not Islamophobia when they are really trying to kill you.”

Pugh launched a right-wing campaign to unseat 22-year state Rep. Smith, a moderate Republican, earlier this year. Although Pugh defeated Smith for the Republican endorsement at the party convention May 23, he has announced that he’ll challenge her in the August primary.

Pugh co-founded the Southwest Metro Tea Party and touts herself as a successful small business owner. She’s also a former general manager of Dayton’s in downtown Saint Paul.

Minnesota directs Tarik ibn Zayad Academy to remedy concerns about prayer sessions, busing

A Saint Paul, Minnesota charter school catering to Muslims complies with federal and state laws, the state Education Department said, but it suggested changes be made in religious areas. The state recommended the Tarik ibn Zayad Academy change its bussing schedule and handling of Friday prayer services, saying that shorter prayer services on most days were acceptable, but a 30-minute block for Friday prayers was not acceptable. The Education Department investigated into the school after a substitute teacher alleged that the school was offering Islamic religious instruction to its students. Minnesota state law requires charter schools to have more autonomy than traditional public schools, but maintains that they must be nonsectarian. The schools executive director, Asad Zaman, said that the findings were significant as no problems were found with the school’s curriculum, but they will comply with the recommended changes.