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Hawaii passes 'Islam Day' bill despite objections

Some lawmakers oppose tribute to religion 'linked' to 9/11

Sept. 24 will now be known as ‘Islam Day’ in Hawaii after state legislatures overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday despite objections from a few lawmakers about paying tribute to a religion they said was linked to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Senate approved 22-3 the proclamation, which recognizes “the rich religious, scientific, cultural, and artistic contributions Islam and the Islamic world have made since their founding.”

Two Republican senators, who argued that Muslim extremists carried out terrorist attacks that killed innocent people including the 9/11 attacks that should not be forgotten, were joined by a lone democrat in opposing the resolution.

“Islamic artists, scientists, and philosophers have a rich history of contribution to world literature and our collective scientific understanding,” read the bill, adding that the religion’s doctrine encourages generosity and responsibility.

“Islamic doctrine encourages generosity in its adherents,” read the bill, adding that, along with its monotheistic counterparts, Islam “holds that peace is a divine quality and necessary for collective human happiness.”

According to the Gregorian calendar, Sept. 24 marks the day the Prophet Muhammad left Mecca for Medina in what became known as the hijra, and marks the birth of Islam.

Islam is the second largest religion in the world and Hawaii has about 3,500 Muslims, according to the Muslim Association of Hawaii.

The bill recognizes the diversity of Islam’s “long and noble history” and Hawaii’s own cultural and religious diversity, though it does not call for any spending or organized celebration of Islam Day.

U.S. President Barack Obama, a Christian whose father was a Muslim Kenyan and mother an American Christian, was born and raised in Hawaii.

Islamic artists, scientists, and philosophers have a rich history of contribution to world literature and our collective scientific understanding

Text of resolution