Opinion: NC legislator’s comments are offensive, degrading

Kent Vashaw

Kevin Griffin

Kent VashawThis week, a constituent named Britt Kauffman emailed N.C. Rep. Michele Presnell regarding the bill that Presnell cosponsored, which would have established a state religion.

This bill was implemented specifically to allow Rowan County to open commissioner’s meetings in explicitly Christian prayers.

Kauffman asked Representative Presnell, “Would you be comfortable with a public prayer to Allah before a legislative meeting in Raleigh?”

The News and Observer reports that Presnell responded with a statement that demonstrates an incredible ignorance: “No, I do not condone terrorism.”

This is the type of bigoted rhetoric that many Muslims have faced in this country since 9/11 and is completely unacceptable.

Last year, Rep. Michelle Bachmann claimed that the government had been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, leading even fellow conservatives like Sen. John McCain to condemn her, Think Progress reports.

“Rep. Presnell’s comment represents a common misunderstanding of Islam in America,” said Lena Aloumari, president of Appalachian State University’s Muslim Student Association. “Contrary to popular belief, all Muslims are not like the extremists that are portrayed in the media.”

In reality, the vast majority of American Muslims are peaceful and productive members of society. Just like it would be outlandish and unjustified to compare all Christians to the Ku Klux Klan or Westboro Baptist Church, it is a similarly ridiculous claim to associate all Muslims with a small group of terrorists.

It is absolutely unacceptable for a person in our government to make these kinds of comments.

This kind of action disgraces the entire state of North Carolina.

Vashaw, a sophomore mathematics major from Apex, is an opinion writer.