An imam from Falls Church gave a blessing at the state Capitol in Richmond today, despite protests from groups accusing him of being a “terrorist sympathizer.”

Del. Adam Ebbin (D), who represents part of Arlington and Falls Church, invited imam Johari Abdul-Malik of the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center to give today’s opening prayer.

Groups including the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force and the Traditional Values Coalition protested, citing Abdul-Malik’s comments about due process for Muslims arrested on terror charges, along with his mosque’s brief link to two of the 9/11 hijackers. In the past, Abdul-Malik has spoken out against violence and terrorism.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement about the protests.

“We cannot let a vocal minority of hate-mongers deny American Muslims their constitutionally-guaranteed right to take part in the political process,” said Corey Saylor, the group’s national legislative director.

Abdul-Malik delivered the prayer around noon today. Del. David Englin (D), who represents part of south Arlington, said on Twitter that he “enjoyed” the blessing, adding that it was “very well done.”

In an earlier statement, Abdul-Malik said: “My hope is that from this gathering we will all get know each other and build new bridges of understanding, no matter how much some narrow-minded people dislike it.”


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