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Washington state lawmakers apologize for skipping Muslim’s prayer • Saturday March 8, 2003

Associated Press, Mar. 7, 2003

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A Muslim leader returned to the state House on Friday to deliver the opening prayer, and this time everyone listened.

Reps. Lois McMahan and Cary Condotta drew criticism Monday when they deliberately stayed off the House floor during Imam Mohamad Joban’s prayer. The Republicans apologized to him and shook his hand on his return visit.

McMahan had initially defended her decision to stay off the floor, saying it was “an issue of patriotism.” Condotta had said he “wasn’t particularly interested” in Joban’s prayer.

Their actions prompted rebukes from a national Muslim group and from the state Republican Party chairman.

Joban said he accepted McMahan and Condotta’s apologies and invited them to visit him at the Islamic Center of Olympia.

“We pray that God guides the hearts of all good people of all faiths to see what we all have in common and pray that it makes us a stronger community and nation,” Joban said Friday. He also prayed for America to win the war against terrorism.

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