- Associated Press - Friday, June 3, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - House lawmakers voted 63-18 Friday to discourage Louisiana’s law enforcement and government agencies from working with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights organization.

Rep. Barry Ivey, R-Baton Rouge, said he sponsored the resolution - which carries no force of law - because of concerns the organization and its officials have had ties to terrorist groups.

The organization, known as CAIR, has denied the claims.

Democratic lawmakers questioned the need for Louisiana’s state House to wade into such a debate in the final days of the legislative session. They suggested the state had more pressing concerns, like its financial problems.

Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, said the resolution will create fear of Muslims.

“I’m very concerned when we begin to put fear of other ethnic groups in the state of Louisiana into the minds of our citizens,” she said.

Resolution supporter Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier, said the statement from the House wasn’t aimed against “people who believe in the Islamic faith,” but was a statement in opposition to terrorism.

“All of us here are opposed to terrorism. That’s all this is about,” said Johnson, who is running for Congress.

Before it passed, Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, added language to the resolution saying the resolution would “have no effect” until the U.S. Justice Department determines that the organization has supported terrorist activity.

The Senate hasn’t passed or considered a similar resolution.


House Resolution 170: www.legis.la.gov

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