Fla. councilman unsure if Muslims, gays should hold public office
Ending nearly three weeks of controversial back-and-forth, University of North Florida professor Parvez Ahmed was confirmed to the city's Human Rights Commission Tuesday night.
The City Council vote was 13-6. Voting in favor were members Bill Bishop, Reggie Brown, Richard Clark, Michael Corrigan, John Crescimbeni, Ronnie Fussell, Johnny Gaffney, Art Graham, Kevin Hyde, Warren Jones, Stephen Joost, Denise Lee and Art Shad.
Daniel Davis, Ray Holt, Glorious Johnson, Don Redman, Jack Webb and Clay Yarborough voted no.
As discussion began, Redman called Ahmed to the podium and asked him to "say a prayer to your God." The comment elicited a negative reaction from the audience and from Deputy General Counsel Cindy Laquidara, who rushed to the microphone to ask to speak with Redman privately.
After a moment of confusion, Redman said he wouldn't ask Ahmed to pray but instead if the council's opening prayer offended him. When Ahmed asked Redman why that was relevant, and that people had a right to pray to whomever they please, Redman said Ahmed would be offended by a prayer to Jesus, and therefore was not suitable to serve on the commission.Several other council members spoke on both sides, including Art Shad, who apologized to Ahmed and said he hoped the city wouldn't be tainted by the vote of the vocal minority.
Note that this is a SECOND member of the Council, not the original one who asked Ahmed to answer question about gay marriage and "under God" that asked him to pray in front of the meeting. Also, one member who voted against (Glorious Johnson) did so because she felt he would be a distraction to the HRC (which has a total of 20 members).