Delaware Sen. Lawson Defends Comments on Muslim Prayer - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Sen. Lawson Defends Comments on Muslim Prayer

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DOVER, Del. -- Delaware Sen. David Lawson on Thursday stood by comments he made a day prior when he denounced the recitation of a Muslim prayer on the floor of the state Senate.

Lawson (R-Marydel), who left the floor yesterday while the prayer was recited for two representatives of a Delaware mosque, said on Wednesday he was offended by the display because he believes the Quran advocates for the death of Americans.

"I fought for this country not to be damned by someone that comes in here and prays to their God for our demise," he said. "I think that's despicable."

Although he said he believed some Muslims are against the violence carried out by extremists and some members of the Islamic faith, Lawson on Thursday defended his statement the decision to allow the prayer on the Senate floor because he believes the idea of being a faithful Muslim runs contrary of American principles and the constitution.

"Is that like being a little bit pregnant? Are you, or are you not? Do you believe in the doctrine that is taught, or not?" he said.

Lawson was admonished by Sen. Dave McBride (D-New Castle) on Senate floor later in Wednesday's session. Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Dover South) joined him in walking out during the prayer.

Prayers of various faiths are regularly said either by lawmakers or religious groups before the start of sessions in the House and the Senate. Thursday's session opened with a Christian prayer.

Usman Sandhu, president of the Islamic Society of Central Delaware, said he thought Lawson's comments were Islamophobic and focused solely on passages from the Quran that were written a long time ago, when the authors lived in a much different time. He said many Muslims today are vocally opposed to the violence carried out by groups like Islamic State.

"Am I saying there are people in the Islamic religion that are not misusing or misinterpreting the Quran? Absolutely not," he said. There are people but they are very few.

Sandhu encouraged Lawson to sit down with him and other members of the group to discuss their faith. Lawson said he had already spoken to one of the men who read the prayer and also planned to meet with him as well.

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