The first Muslim representative elected to the Pennsylvania legislature is demanding an apology from another member who began their session with a prayer to Jesus Christ, calling it “highly offensive.”
Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell said that she and her family were greatly offended at the prayer that had overt worship of Jesus Christ.
John-Harrell is quoted as calling the prayer, “highly offensive to me, my guests, and other members of the House.”
“It blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders — leaders that are supposed to represent the people,” Johnson-Harrell said in a statement to the Pennsylvania Capital Star. “I came to the Capitol to help build bipartisanship and collaborations regardless of race or religion to enhance the quality of life for everyone in the Commonwealth.”
She had dozens of friends and family members in attendance because she was being sworn in that day.
The prayer was made by Rep. Stephanie Borowicz who refused to apologize after being told that Johnson-Harrell was offended.
“That’s how I pray everyday,” she said to a reporter and added, “Oh no, I don’t apologize ever for praying.”
The Pennsylvania state Democratic party called the prayer an “Islamophobic message,” and Pennsylvania House Democratic Party Whip Jordan Harris excoriated Borowicz in a scathing statement.
“Today, we saw religion weaponized in the House chamber in what could be considered a gross attempt to intimidate, demean and degrade a Muslim state representative in the presence of her family, friends and guests,” said Harris.
“On a day that should be celebrated across Pennsylvania as we see the first Muslim woman sworn into office,” he continued, “we instead started off with a rambling, at times incoherent prayer that consisted of weaponizing the name of Jesus while dipping into partisan rhetoric of President Donald Trump.”
Contrary to his statement, Borowicz’ prayer consisted of theological statements that have been accepted and proclaimed by Christians for thousands of years. Borowicz also praised the president for defending Israel in the prayer.