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Friday, October 5, 2007

Two Stories on House Vote to Honor Ramadan

U.S. House honors Islamic religious observance

Jim Brown and Jody Brown
October 4, 2007

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted for the first time to honor the Islamic holiday of Ramadan, but some conservative lawmakers wanted no part of it.

The language of the resolution sponsored by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) reads: "Recognizing the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and commending Muslims in the United States and throughout the world for their faith." The measure passed 376-0, with 42 members voting "Present."

Among those who voted present was freshman Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado). "I couldn't bring myself to vote 'yes' on that resolution," he admits. "I hope that we have more and more moderate Muslims speaking out about the cause of peace in the future." Lamborn says a recent attempt in Congress to honor Christmas was met with a great deal of opposition.

His colleague GOP presidential candidate and Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) also voted "present" on the measure. Tancredo released a press statement after the vote, citing the resolution as "an example of the degree to which political correctness has captured the political and media elite" in America.

"I am not opposed to commending any religion for their faith," he says in the statement. "The problem is that any attempt to do so for Jews or Christians is immediately condemned as 'breaching' the non-existent line between Church and State by the same elite."

Representative Scott Garrett of New Jersey says he too was "troubled" by the Ramadan resolution. "There were a number of members who, as we call it down here, 'stayed off' that vote and did not support it because I think that they looked at it as something that Congress really should not be doing, should not be picking one faith out and commending that faith."
Garrett says during his five years in Congress he does not remember the House ever approving a resolution commending Christians for celebrating Christmas or Easter.

Michigan lawmaker won't honor Ramadan, says he can't respect religion 'behind radical jihad'

Jim Brown
October 4, 2007

A Michigan congressman says he could not support a House resolution honoring the estimated 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide who are currently observing the month of Ramadan.

Tuesday the House voted 376-0 to "recognize the commencement of Ramadan" and "commend Muslims in the United States and throughout the world for their faith." Forty-two members voted "present" on the bill sponsored by Eddie Bernice Johnson and 30 others.

Among those who voted present on the resolution was Republican Tim Walberg of Michigan. "To offer respect for a major religion is one thing, but to offer respect for a major religion that has been behind the Islamic jihad, the radical jihad, that has sworn war upon the United States, its free allies and freedom in Iraq, is another thing," he stated.

One of the cosponsors of the Ramadan resolution, which rose on the House floor to voice support for the measure, was Democrat Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, whose district was home to six of the 9-11 hijackers. Walberg believes the resolution may have been intended to put critics of Islam "on the hot seat" and portray them as not being "fair and open-minded."