HONOLULU – Hawaii's state Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday to celebrate "Islam Day" — over the objections of a few lawmakers who said they didn't want to honor a religion connected to Sept. 11, 2001.
The Senate's two Republicans argued that a minority of Islamic extremists have killed many innocents in terrorist attacks.
"I recall radical Islamists around the world cheering the horrors of 9/11. That is the day all civilized people of all religions should remember," said Republican Sen. Fred Hemmings to the applause of more than 100 people gathered in the Senate to oppose a separate issue — same-sex civil unions.
The resolution to proclaim Sept. 24, 2009, as Islam Day passed the Senate on a 22-3 vote. It had previously passed the House.
The bill seeks to recognize "the rich religious, scientific, cultural and artistic contributions" that Islam and the Islamic world have made. It does not call for any spending or organized celebration of Islam Day.