A leader of the Ohio Muslim community today opened a session of that state's Senate in Columbus with a prayer for tolerance and justice. (SEE: http://www.senate.state.oh.us/)
Dr. Ahmad Al-Akhras, president of the Council on American-Islamic Relation's Ohio office (CAIR-Ohio), first recited the opening chapter (Al-Fatihah) of the Quran, Islam's revealed text, and then said:
"Today we give thanks to God for the blessings that have been bestowed upon us, both individually and collectively. We also thank God for the bounties provided to us in our beautiful state of Ohio.
"We come together appreciating the word of God when He said: 'O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes (so) that you might come to know one another. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous.' [Quran, 49:13] So, let us be among the most righteous.
"We ask Almighty God to guide us and to show us the path of tolerance and justice. We ask God to help us see what we all have in common, and to set aside what may separate us.
"We pray that God may guide this body in making decisions that are beneficial for the people of our great state and for our nation.
"We ask Almighty God to bless Ohio so it may continue to prosper and become a symbol of peace and tranquility for people of all faiths and backgrounds."
Dr. Al-Akhras was part of an Islamic delegation that took part in today's event as a demonstration of the desire for greater Muslim participation in the political process. There are an estimated 185,000 Muslims in the state of Ohio.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 25 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
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CONTACT: Jad Humeidan, Executive Director, CAIR-Ohio 614-451-3232 or