Florida councilman mocks Muslim commission nominee, tells him to publicly ‘say a prayer to your God.’

Last week, ThinkProgress reported on a Jacksonville, FL council member’s controversial questioning of city Human Rights Commission nominee Parvez Ahmed. Council member Clay Yarborough (R) grilled Ahmed on same-sex marriage, God, Islam, and public prayer, even though the topics had nothing to do with the position he was being considered for. Yesterday, ending three weeks of debate, the council voted 13–6 to approve Ahmed. However, even on this last day, a member of the council mocked Ahmed for being Muslim:

As discussion on the nomination began, [Councilman Don] Redman called Ahmed, who is Muslim, to the podium and asked him to “say a prayer to your God.”

The comment elicited an audible, negative reaction from the audience and Ahmed refused to comply, saying it had no relevance to his nomination to the commission. At the same time, Chief Deputy General Counsel Cindy Laquidara rushed to the podium to reign in Redman, asking to speak with him privately before he continued.

Instead, Redman changed his approach, asking Ahmed if he was offended by Redman’s opening prayer, in which he referenced Jesus. Ahmed again questioned the relevance of the question, but he said Christian prayers did not bother him. “People do have the right to pray according to their faith and according to their beliefs,” he said.


Redman wasn’t convinced. He insisted that Ahmed, despite his answer, would be offended by prayers to Jesus and that is why he shouldn’t serve on Human Rights Commission.

Redman joined Yarborough and voted against Ahmed.