Hundreds of people are urging legislators to boycott the House of Delegates’ floor session on Thursday, when a Falls Church imam whom they accuse of condoning violence and defending terrorism is set to deliver the opening prayer.
The imam, Johari Abdul-Malik, and many other leaders in the Muslim and interfaith communities say the accusations are false. “To try to cast me as someone who’s a terrorist and closed-minded – they picked the wrong guy,” he said.
Soon after Sept. 11, Abdul-Malik was featured in paid ads produced by a group of national Muslim organizations, which denounced terrorism and the attacks. He has condemned terrorism and Osama bin Laden on “The O’Reilly Factor” and other television programs.
Still, letters and calls have poured into legislative offices since Friday, when a handful of concerned delegates let community activists know that Abdul-Malik was coming to Richmond.
“He’s an apologist for people who commit criminal acts,” said James Lafferty, chairman of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force. The group, along with the Traditional Values Coalition and Act for America, will hold a rally outside the state Capitol on Thursday morning.
See also “Islam-Bashers Try to Block Muslim Prayer in Va. Legislature”, CAIR action alert, 11 March 2010
Update: See “Demonstration against Islamic cleric draws few”, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12 March 2010
Further update: See also “And who said that Islamophobia isn’t real?”, The American Muslim,11 March 2010