Republican lawmakers condemn 'Islam Day'


POSTED: Thursday, May 07, 2009

The state Legislature has declared Sept. 24 “;Islam Day,”; an action that drew condemnation from the Senate's two Republicans, Fred Hemmings and Sam Slom.

The pair voted against the resolution, along with Sen. Josh Green (D, Milolii-Waimea), who said he didn't like government involved with religions.

Hemmings said he has heard that “;radical Islamists make up about 10 percent of the Islamic religion”; and that 10 percent “;advocate terror and war on the civilized world.”;

“;We should not feel the need to have a special day to recognize the second largest religion in the world when we have never proclaimed a special day recognizing the largest religion in the world—Christianity,”; Hemmings (R, Lanikai-Waimanalo) said.

Supporters of the resolution, however, said that Hawaii holds both Christmas and Good Friday as state holidays, even though they are both Christian holy days. And the state Capitol entrance is watched over by a statue of a Catholic priest, Father Damien.

“;I for one believe we should honor the Islamic faith as we do other faiths. ... It merely honors the faith, nothing more,”; said Sen. Gary Hooser (D, Kauai-Niihau).

Slom (R, Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai) recalled that the state House in 2003 passed a resolution urging Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to practice the spirit of aloha. “;The Legislature reaffirms the value and meaning of aloha in the face of military action against Iraq,”; the 2003 resolution read.

Although the Legislature sets aside various days each year as having special meaning, such as World Peace Day, or Ocean Awareness Day, the Legislative Reference Bureau said no record is kept of the days and they are not recorded on any state calendar.