One North Carolina lawmaker apparently thinks that Islamic prayer is the same as terrorism. While emailing back and forth with a constituent, Republican state Rep. Michele Presnell was asked to answer if she was comfortable with a prayer to Allah prior to a legislative meeting. Her response: “No, I do not condone terrorism.”
Presnell represents a district in the North Carolina mountains and this is her first year serving as a state representative. She is a co-sponsor of a measure asserting that North Carolina can establish a state religion, known as House resolution 494, according to The Charlotte Observer.
“The famed ACLU is telling Rowan County they may not pray before commissioners meetings,” Presnell wrote to Britt Kaufmann in an email. “We pray in Raleigh before our legislative meetings, U.S. Congress prays in Washington DC, why can they not pray?”
Kaufmann, her constituent responded: “Yes, I do understand that the ACLU is suing Rowan County and I think they have clearly articulated why they are not comfortable with prayer before the commissioners meetings. I wanted you, as my representative, to know that I do not think the proposed bill is a good solution to that problem. … Would you be comfortable with a public prayer to Allah before a legislative meeting in Raleigh?”
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It was at this point that Presnell made her remark linking Islam and terrorism. She followed it up with: “We just need to start taking a stand on our religious freedom or it will be whisked away from us.” She ends the exchange by saying, “No, you are wrong. Have a good day.”
Rep. Harry Warren, who also sponsored House resolution 494, has apologized for the bill’s poor wording and the way that it has embarrassed North Carolina.