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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Imam leads House prayer

by Michael C. Bender | April 27th, 2009

As usual, the Florida House opened session today with a prayer. But for the first time this year (and possibly the first time ever), that prayer was led by an imam, Qasim Ahmed, from the Islamic Learning Institute in Tampa.

The prayer was videotaped by Ahmed Bedier, United Voices of America director, who remarked on the absence of House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Boca Raton. Bedier said he was videotaping the “historic” moment.

“We did notice Hasner’s empty chair. That’s definitely noticed,” Bedier said.

Hasner led a press conference on Muslim Day at the Capitol last month to protest Bedier’s organization. This weekend, Hasner hosted a “Free Speech Summit” with controversial writer Geert Wilders, leading the Council On American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to demand Hasner be removed from his leadership position.

Hasner said he wasn’t on the floor this morning for personal reasons and noted the iman was in the House at the invitation of Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek.

“It’s Jim Waldman’s right as a member to invite whomever he wants,” Hasner said.


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