Iowa Legislature Opens with Muslim Prayer

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When the Iowa legislature convened last week, many became outraged over the session's opening prayer given by a Muslim imam.

Imam Muhammed Khan of Des Moines spoke in both Arabic and English during his four-minute prayer. He prayed for "victory over those who disbelieve," and "protection from the great Satan," a move many believe was more of a political statement.

Read Khan's entire prayer here.

Pastor Steve Smith of the Evangelical Free Church in Albert City, Iowa, was among those concerned about the prayer. He protested that the statement "those who disbelieve" included all non-Muslims.

"This is a request in the Iowa legislature for God to grant the Muslims victory over every non-muslim, not a request for salvation," Smith said.

He added that the term "Great Satan" has often been used by radical Muslims to describe America. Some thought using the phrase was a push, considering the recent wars in the Middle East.

Khan made no specific mention of Iraq or the war on terror during his blessing.

"I'm not concerned about a Muslim imam opening the legislature in prayer," Smith explained. "But it concerns me with the statements that were made. He interpreted this prayer from his understanding of Islam."

Another Representative agreed with Smith and said he addressed his concerns to the proper authorities.

Khan was the guest of State Representative Ako Abdul Samad of Des Moines, who is also a local Muslim leader.

The Iowa Senate began their session with prayer by a Catholic priest.

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