Twenty-two Say Diverse, Three Say Perverse
It was the resolution heard ‘round the world. Yesterday, the Senate took a final vote on House resolution 100, which proposes that this September 24 be known as Islam Day. The Senate approved the resolution in a 22-3 vote, with the two lone Republican Senators Sam Slom, Fred Hemmings voting no, along with Democratic Sen. Josh Green.
Hemmings and Slom say that positively acknowledging the Muslim religion not only makes Americans—especially those in Hawaii —appear sympathetic to Muslim extremists and terrorists, but also trivializes the events of 9/11. Green’s objection was that the resolution would muddy the separation of church and state.
“I recall radical Islamists around the world cheering the horrors of 9/11,” said Hemmings during yesterday’s Senate session. “That is the day all civilized people of all religions should remember.” This drew loud applause from the hundred or so people in the Senate’s public gallery who had come to oppose the civil union bill, which was also discussed during the Senate session.
Proponents say it commemorates the religious disciplines, culture and scientific and literary contributions of Islam.
A quick Google search of “Islam Day + Hawaii” pulled up local media mentioning the House resolution, but surprisingly even more results for Mainland blogs and publications; even Fox News had something to say about it. Looks like a lot of people are upset about this one. For example, The Underground Conservative notes, “What day did they pick? September 24–13 days after September 11. Nice.” Atas Shrugs asks “Why Islam? WTF is going down?” and Democrat=Socialist says, “I wonder if this makes Michelle Obama finally proud of her country.”
The resolution—which is not a bill, therefore cannot become law—does not require an official organized celebration or funding, asserts, “Hawaii is known for the wealth of its cultural diversity and the harmony with which people of many cultures and religions live together.” People are not forced to honor or even acknowledge this day. However, opponents argue that there are not other religious tolerance days, such as Christianity Day or Judaism Day. (What about Good Friday? Or that many Americans celebrate Christmas, Easter or Chanukah?)
Here are some quick facts about Islam: There are more than 3,000 practicing Muslims in our Islands, and Islam is the second largest religion in the world with more than one billion Muslims spanning every continent with members of diverse cultures and backgrounds. Islam is monotheistic, like Christianity and Judaism. Jihad, considered by some as the “Sixth Pillar of Islam,” is regarded by a minority of Muslim (Sunni) and is most often associated with religious extremism and terrorism. And the significance of September 24? According to the resolution, “the Prophet Mohammad left his house to migrate to Madinah and reached Quba in the vicinity of Madinah on the 12th day of Rabi ul-Awwal according to the lunar calendar, or September 24th according to the Gregorian calendar, thereby marking the birth of Islam.”
In short, this resolution reiterates that Hawaii is indeed a melting pot of race, culture, religion and political diversity. It doesn’t make someone better than anyone else; not every Muslim is a bomb-strapped terrorist, just like not every Christian is homophobic.