The GOP-controlled North Dakota House canceled an invocation to be given by a Muslim, Dr. Nadim Koleilat, on Wednesday.
Republicans felt it was inappropriate to have a Muslim give the invocation on Ash Wednesday, a Catholic holiday, noted Inforum.com.
“I mean, you had representatives on the floor with ash on their foreheads commemorating the day. And so then you’re going to force them to listen to a prayer that they don’t agree with? It wasn’t very well thought out, I don’t think,” said state Rep. Dwight Kiefert (R). “If it would have been a different day, maybe it would have been better.”
Rev. Rich Wyatt of the Living Hope Church of the Nazarene in Bismarck, North Dakota, gave the invocation in the state House.
Dr. Koleilat gave his invocation in the Democrat-controlled state Senate.
State Senate leaders said they received no complaints about Dr. Koleilat, who offered a nonsectarian invocation that only mentioned “God.”
The controversy in the state House began on the District 24 Republicans’ Facebook page.
According to the Friendly Atheist, GOP spokesperson Dan Johnston wrote in a posting:
"Hello friends, did you know that Dr.Nadim Koleilat, the leader of the Bismarck Muslim Community House will be opening the ND house session in prayer on the 18 Feb. and the senate session on the 25 Feb.? I respect people of other religious and ethnic backgrounds, but given the current situation in world affairs I view this as political correctness at its worst. Let’s face it, the very enemy our country has been perpetually at war with since Sept.11, 2001 uses the words of the Koran and the example of their founding Prophet Muhammad as justification for the slaughter of infidels (Christians, anybody not Muslim) the world over. Does this amount to the worst form of political correctness? What do you think? DJ"
A Facebook commenter reportedly added, “If I went to a Muslim country we would not expect them to open their state with a Christian prayer. The US has a Christian foundation!!”
“It was just purely a Christian event, and so there were a number of members that thought it was appropriate to have someone from the Christian faith on that day,” stated House Speaker Wesley Belter (R). “But he [Koleilat] will be invited back.”