The first prayer ever by a Muslim cleric in the Texas Senate will be delivered today – outraging some conservatives because it is occurring just before Easter.

The invocation will be delivered by the Imam Yusuf Kavakci of the Dallas Central Mosque at the invitation of state Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano. Shapiro is Jewish.

Shapiro spokeswoman Jennifer Ransom Rice said the invitation was extended to Kavakci because Wednesday is the Texas Muslims Legislative Day at the Capitol.

Harris County Republican Chairman Jared Woodfill said the timing of the Muslim prayer outraged him.

“I’m shocked that the day before the Easter recess that a Muslim is leading the prayer,” Woodfill said. “They should be having a celebration about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

The holidays for Christians are Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This also is Passover, a major Jewish holiday.

Woodfill said the invocation should be delivered by someone who represents Judeo-Christian values.

Rice said the Muslim groups scheduled their trip to the Capitol like any other group that had to reserve a room.

Rice said among the events the Muslim groups plan at the Capitol is a program on interfaith relations.


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