The Senate’s two Republicans argued that a minority of Islamic extremists have killed many innocents in terrorist attacks.
“I recall around the world cheering the horrors of 9/11. That is the day all civilized people of all religions should remember,” said Sen. Fred Hemmings to the applause of more than 100 people gathered in the Senate to oppose a separate issue — same-sex civil unions.
The resolution to proclaim Sept. 24, 2009, as Islam Day passed the Senate on a 22-3 vote. It had previously passed the House.
The bill seeks to recognize “the rich religious, scientific, cultural and artistic contributions” that Islam and the have made. It does not call for any spending or organized celebration of Islam Day.
“We are a state of tolerance. We understand that people have different beliefs,” said Sen. Will Espero, a . “We may not all agree on every single item and issue out there, but to say and highlight the negativity of the is an insult to the majority” of believers “who are good law-abiding citizens of the world.”
“I don’t think there’s any country in the history of the world that has been more tolerant than the , and because of that tolerance, we’ve looked the other way a lot of times, and many thousands of our citizens have been killed by terrorists,” said Slom, a Republican.
The lone Democrat voting against the bill opposed it on church-state separation fears.