Hawaii's Islam Day Resolution Stirs Passions Here, On Mainland

May 31, 2009

Author: Christie Wilson

Source: The Honolulu Advertiser


Debate over a legislative resolution designating Sept. 24, 2009, as Islam Day is testing Hawai'i's reputation as a cultural melting pot.

House Concurrent Resolution 100, establishing a single day this year to acknowledge "the rich religious, scientific, cultural, and artistic contributions" of the Islamic world, ignited the passions of those concerned about the connection between the Islam religion and Muslim extremists responsible for the 9/11 attacks and other terrorist acts around the world.

Gov. Linda Lingle's office reported receiving 315 e-mails and 40 calls objecting to Islam Day. About a third were from Mainlanders stirred up by accounts of the resolution on Fox News, CNN and other outlets.

In her May 11 appearance on "The Mike Buck Radio Show" on KHVH, Lingle called the resolution "just unnecessary" and said it was attracting the wrong kind of attention for Hawai'i.

"It just received ridicule all across the country. Everybody knows that the country and all 50 states are facing these historically difficult economic times. I think it's just an expression of them being out of touch," she said.

The Hawai'i Tourism Authority received a single phone call and 18 e-mails from Mainlanders who said they would not visit the state because of the Islam Day resolution.

HTA president and chief executive officer Mike McCartney noted the state has a long list of days celebrating various cultures and religions.