(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/27/09) - A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy group today said that Rep. Adam Hasner, the head of Florida’s House Republicans, left the floor of the legislature just prior to an Islamic prayer opening the session and returned to his seat just after the prayer ended.
SEE: Imam Leads House Prayer (Palm Beach Post)
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) cited the apparent walkout as an additional reason for Hasner to step down from his leadership post.
Yesterday, CAIR called on Republican Party leaders to remove Hasner from his post because he co-hosted a recent event at which the speaker said Islam should not be recognized as a legitimate faith and Muslims should not have religious freedom.
CAIR: Fla. House GOP Leader Hosts Event Denying Religious Freedom
In an address to the so-called “Free Speech Summit” in Delray Beach, Fla., Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders said: “Islam is not a religion. Islam is a totalitarian political ideologue. Islam [sic] heart lies at the Quran, and the Quran is a book that calls for hatred, that calls for violence, for murder, for terrorism, for war, and submission…We should also stop pretending that Islam is a religion...the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam.”
Hasner is on the “host committee” for the conference and attended Wilders’ speech.
VIDEO: Tell GOP Lawmakers to Reject Rep. Hasner's Hate Event (United Voices)
“We urge American Muslims and other people of conscience to contact the speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives to ask that he defend religious freedom and interfaith tolerance by removing Representative Hasner from his leadership post,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Representative Hasner’s behavior is un-American and unbefitting an elected official in his position.”
Awad also called on political and interfaith leaders to condemn Hasner’s behavior.
Earlier this year, Hasner attempted to block a “Florida Muslim Capitol Day.” In an e-mail to more than a dozen lobbyists, he wrote: “By now, I can't imagine you haven't heard about this upcoming lobbying day for Muslims in Tallahassee…Do you all intend to be part of an information campaign in opposition to it?”
SEE: House Leader E-Mails Alert About Muslim Event to Jewish Lobbyists (St. Petersburg Times)
In 2007, Hasner sponsored a screening of the anti-Muslim film “Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West” for state legislators.
SEE: Obsession with Hate
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-South Florida Executive Director Altaf Ali, 954-272-0490, 954-298-8214, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ramzy Kilic, Tel: 813-514-1414 or 813-486-2529, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com