Each year the Beaverton-Tigard Chapter of the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship and Concerned Citizens hosts a “Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast” for mayors in Oregon’s Washington County. This year Beaverton Mayor Rob Drake invited a Muslim leader to join him at the event to offer a prayer. The businessmen’s group voted to disinvite Shahriar Ahmed, president of the Bilal Mosque Association in Beaverton, from participating. In response, Mayor Drake and most - if not all - of the county’s other mayors have withdrawn from participating as well. The Oregonian reports:
As the traditional host mayor of the breakfast, Drake had invited Ahmed and a rabbi to take part on the breakfast meeting's dais.
Peter Reding, the fellowship's communications director, said Muslims pray to Allah rather than God and contended they are not part of "Judeo-Christian tradition." Both suppositions figured into the steering committee's 7-1 vote to bar Ahmed from praying. Ahmed has said he will skip the event.
Reding defended the vote. "We have received quite a number of people calling up and supporting our position," he said. "Everybody is invited to come to the breakfast," he said, but added that the group has a "Jewish-Christian tradition only on the dais."
David Leslie, executive director of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, called Reding's comments "vitriolic." He said the businessmen's fellowship should learn more about common theological roots of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, especially in times of conflict in the Middle East. Muslims view Jesus as a prophet.
Mayor Drake deserves the congratulation of us all for his stand. He was right to invite Shahriar Ahmed and then right to withdrawal from the event. Mayor Drake can be reached at [email protected]. You can reach the Beaverton-Tigard Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship at 503-521-3197 to share with them how you feel about this act of discrimination.