Hawaii’s state Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday to celebrate “Islam Day”–over the objections of a few lawmakers who said they didn’t want to honor a religion connected to Sept. 11, 2001.
The resolution to proclaim Sept. 24, 2009, as Islam Day passed the Senate on a 22-3 vote. It had previously passed the House and now goes to Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.
The bill seeks to recognize “the rich religious, scientific, cultural and artistic contributions” that Islam and the Islamic world have made. It does not call for any spending or organized celebration of Islam Day.
“We are a state of tolerance. We understand that people have different beliefs,” said Sen. Will Espero, a Democrat. “We may not all agree on every single item and issue out there, but to say and highlight the negativity of the Islamic people is an insult to the majority” of believers “who are good law-abiding citizens of the world.”
The lone Democrat voting against the bill opposed it on church-state separation fears.