Update: Lawmakers Walk Out of Muslim Prayer in Washington State House

March 5, 2003

Source: Los Angeles Times

On March 5, 2003 the Los Angeles Times reported that "when state lawmaker Lois McMahan chose not to participate in a Muslim prayer at the House of Representatives in Olympia, Wash., it was, she says, for private reasons, and they may have stayed private had she not answered the questions of a reporter... 'It's an issue of patriotism,' McMahan, a conservative Christian, reportedly said. 'The Islamic religion is so ... part and parcel with the attack on America. I just didn't want to be a part of that... Even though the mainstream Islamic religion doesn't profess to hate America, nonetheless it spawns the groups that hate America...' Since the publication of those words, local and national Muslim groups have demanded an apology from McMahan, and state Republican leaders have condemned the legislator's actions as inappropriate and unrepresentative of the GOP... As many as 20 other state representatives were not in attendance during the prayer; many of them were milling around in the lobby. The Post-Intelligencer said another lawmaker, Cary Condotta, also walked out during the prayer, a contention that Condotta denies."