- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The closing prayer at Republicans’ convention session Tuesday, delivered by a Muslim, was marred by a Trump supporter repeatedly chanting “No Islam,” exposing a still raw nerve within the GOP over how big the party’s tent should be.

As Sajid Tarar, founder of American Muslims for Trump, prayed for peace and an end to terrorism, a man stood up in the upper part of the arena and tried to shout him down, complaining about the prominent presence of a Muslim at the convention.

“My obligation is to God. This is an abomination to God,” the man said as other delegates challenged him. He refused to give his name to reporters, but he had a badge signifying he was an alternate delegate and was wearing a blue “Make America Great Again” hat.

One of those who challenged the man, Kim Coley, said he was disrespecting the convention by interrupting the speaker. Ms. Coley said she is a devout Christian, and said Jesus called for teaching and tolerance, not that sort of confrontation.

“He’s usurping God’s authority,” she said.

Minutes earlier Ms. Coley, a guest of delegates from North Carolina, was also involved in defusing another protest — this one by Jodie Evans, a co-founder of Code Pink, the anti-war group that also disrupted Monday night’s convention proceedings.

Ms. Evans was trying to unfurl an anti-war banner when she got into a scuffle with others in the upper deck. The dust-up lasted several minutes before security was able to hustle her out of the arena.

Ms. Evans said she staged the protest because of “the hate that spews out of Donald Trump and the GOP.”

“This is the party that started the war in Iraq on lies,” she said.

Ms. Coley held up an American flag scarf to try to block Ms. Evans’ banner, and other convention-goers also jumped in to try to block the protest from cameras. Ms. Coley said it was ironic that the Code Pink protester interrupted the speech of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Ms. Evans said she didn’t time her protest specifically to Mr. Carson’s appearance, but rather that was just when she arrived.

She said someone gave her the credentials she used to get into the arena, but wouldn’t identify the person.

“People want me in here, I guess,” she said.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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