[Ed. – How absurd that this had to be a big issue. Of course Christian legislators preferred to have a Christian invocation on the first day of Lent. It was stupid to schedule a Muslim in the first place. I’d be happy to have a Muslim give the invocation most other days, and even make a point of giving it on Eid al-Fitr, as long as that doesn’t conflict with a Christian holy day. (Eid al-Fitr moves around with the lunar calendar.) Grow up, people! Don’t make me come in there. You won’t like it if I do.]
BISMARCK – Republican leaders in the North Dakota House of Representatives said they canceled the opening prayer by a Muslim on Ash Wednesday because some members thought it was more appropriate to have a Christian deliver the invocation.
Dr. Nadim Koleilat, board president of the Bismarck Muslim Community Center, ended up giving the invocation in the Senate instead of the House. …
District 24 Rep. Dwight Kiefert, R-Valley City, was among those who objected to having a non-Christian deliver the prayer on Ash Wednesday.
“I mean, you had representatives on the floor with ash on their foreheads commemorating the day. And so then you’re going to force them to listen to a prayer that they don’t agree with? It wasn’t very well thought out, I don’t think,” he said. “If it would have been a different day, maybe it would have been better.” …
House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, agreed it was more appropriate to have a Christian pastor give the invocation on Ash Wednesday, saying, “Obviously we don’t have any Muslims in this chamber.”
House Minority Leader Kenton Onstad, a Democrat from Parshall, called the situation “terrible” and said Koleilat should have been allowed to deliver the prayer.