My god is not Mohammed, either

On Monday, Imam Mohamad Joban, of the Islamic Center of Olympia, delivered the following opening prayer before the Washington State House of Representatives:

: "We open this session of House of Representatives in the name of Allah the one God Abraham, God of Moses, God of Jesus, and God of Mohammed, peace be upon them all. . . . We ask Allah or God to bless the state of Washington so it may continue to prosper and become a symbol of peace and tranquility for people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. We pray that Allah may guide this House in making good decisions for the people of Washington.

"At this time, we also pray that America may succeed in the war against terrorism. We pray to God that the war may end with world peace and tranquility."

In response, two lawmakers lawmakers stepped off the chamber floor:

"It's an issue of patriotism," Rep. Lois McMahan, a conservative Republican from Gig Harbor, said of her decision to stand in the back of the room.

"The Islamic religion is so . . . part and parcel with the attack on America. I just didn't want to be there, be a part of that," she said. "Even though the mainstream Islamic religion doesn't profess to hate America, nonetheless it spawns the groups that hate America."

Rep. Cary Condotta, a Republican from East Wenatchee, also left the floor. He said the timing was not a coincidence, but he declined to comment further on why he left, except to say he was talking to another lawmaker and "let's just say I wasn't particularly interested."

McMahan clarified her action, saying she didn't oppose having a Muslim deliver the prayer, but called Islam "the focal point of the hate-America sentiment in the world." adding, "My god is not Mohammed."

I guess I should be offended, but I'm not. If anything, my opinion is that Joban should have stayed home. This demonstrates why there is so little point in Muslim comunities doing any kind of active outreach to the greater community - it becomes counter-productive. Even without the walkout, did havig Joban deliver the address actually achieve any good?

The energy of Muslims is better spent directed inwards, to their own comunities, to protect ourselves from cancerous infestation from fanatics, rather than try to prove how moderate we are.

UPDATE: McMahan will apologise.

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