A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Muslim Prayer Service at the DNC?


Q: Is the Democratic National Convention hosting a Muslim “Jumah” prayer service after rejecting a Catholic cardinal’s offer to lead a prayer?

A: No. A Muslim group scheduled an event that was independent of the convention at a city park. The cardinal is leading the convention’s closing prayer.


FULL QUESTION

Hi,

Someone I know posted this on Facebook. I’m pretty sure it’s not true, or at the very least, misleading. It is spreading quickly.

Group Proceeds With 2-Hour Islamic ‘Jumah’ Prayers ‘at the DNC’ (And You Won‘t Believe Who’s Invited)

The host committee for the Democratic National Convention is raising a number of eyebrows after choosing to proceed with featuring Islamic “Jumah” prayers for two hours on the Friday before its convention, though Democrats earlier denied a Catholic cardinal’s request to say a prayer at the same event.

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Thanks for all of the truth you spread.

FULL ANSWER

Several readers asked us to vet emails that claimed Democratic National Convention organizers planned to bus 20,000 Muslims to Charlotte for the convention, or that the DNC would host a Muslim prayer service after rejecting  a cardinal’s offer to bless the convention.

Many of the emails link to a blog post or to an article posted on The Blaze, Glenn Beck’s conservative website. The Blaze article originally carried the headline, “DNC Announces 2-hour Islamic ‘Jumah’ Prayers After Rejecting Cardinal’s Blessing (And You Won’t Believe Who’s Invited).” The article has since been updated to reflect that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, New York’s archbishop, will be leading the DNC’s closing benediction.

 

A Muslim group scheduled a prayer service titled “Jumah at the 2012 DNC” in a city park — not in any official convention venue — for the Friday afternoon before the convention.

A group calling itself the Bureau of Indigenous Muslim Affairs advertised its prayer service on the website of the city’s host committee, Charlotte in 2012, not on the website of the DNC.

Charlotte in 2012, which allowed community members to promote events on its website, has since removed BIMA’s event listing.

Charlotte in 2012 is a nonpartisan organization set up to promote the city during the convention and to engage people in related “business and civic” opportunities. More than 1,000 non-convention-related events were scheduled. A senior host committee official told us the organization does not endorse any of the community groups that list events on its site.

The page on which BIMA advertised its prayer service allowed community members to promote events next to those officially sponsored by the Democratic Party or the city. The official told us the prayer event’s page — which has since been taken down — lacked the official logo of the DNC, which is a blue and white circle enclosed around human silhouettes, and the logo for an official city-sponsored event, which has a silhouette of Charlotte’s skyline. The DNC’s official website lacks any mention of a “Jumah” or specific Muslim prayer service.

BIMA’s event listing on the host committee’s website had said that the Jumah’s purpose is to make the “general public aware that the Muslim community is a healthy and vibrant component to the American society.”

Jibril Hough, a Muslim activist and BIMA spokesman, told the Charlotte Observer that BIMA also wanted to hold political parties accountable for issues that affect Muslim-Americans. Those issues include the Patriot Act, a law that expanded anti-terrorism surveillance, and the New York Police Department’s wiretapping program to monitor Muslims.

Hough told the newspaper that he expected 20,000 Muslims to attend the prayer service as well as other BIMA-sponsored events scheduled in the days before the convention, including an Islamic issues conference and banquet, and a cultural festival.

Charlotte in 2012 sent us the following statement regarding its removal of BIMA’s event listing:

“This event, like many others on the page, was user generated. Upon further review, and because speakers for the event and statements and positions from event organizers were not appropriate and relevant to the Host Committee, Charlotte in 2012 has decided to remove the event from our events calendar.”

The official did not respond to a follow-up email asking why the organization considered BIMA’s statements and positions to be inappropriate.

Dolan, who is archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will give the closing benediction on the final night of the convention — just as he did at the Republican convention.

— Ben Finley

Sources

Easley, Jonathan. “Cardinal Dolan to Give Benediction at Dem Convention.” The Hill. 28 Aug 2012.

Rauh, Grace. “Dolan Closes RNC with Prayer.” NY1. 31 Aug 2012.

Cusido, Carmen. “Muslims to host events during DNC; up to 20,000 could attend.” 2 July 2012.

Ritz, Erica. “Group Proceeds with 2-Hour Islamic ‘Jumah’ Prayers ‘At the DNC’ (And You Won’t Believe Who’s Invited).” The Blaze. 27 Aug. 2012.

Blevins, Twana. “DNC to bus 20,000 Muslims to DNC Convention. Is this the ultimate deceit against women’s rights?” Patriots for America. 27 Aug. 2012.

Charlotte in 2012. Convention Host Committee website. accessed 31 Aug 2012.

Democratic National Convention. website. accessed 31 Aug 2012.