Two Republican state lawmakers in Delaware walked out of the chamber in the capitol while an imam led a reading from the Quran. The News Journal reported that state Sens. Dave Lawson and Colin Bonini left the Senate. When Tarek Ewis, imam of the Masjid Isa Ibn-e-Maryam mosque in Newark, and Naveed Baqir, executive director of the Delaware Council on Global and Muslim Affairs, gave the invocation on April 5, the pair of legislators left the capitol in Dover. Lawson returned later and said that the reading was "despicable."
Once the prayer had finished, Lawson returned. An Air Force veteran, Lawson condemned the decision to invite the two Muslims. According to The News Journal, Lawson said, "We just heard from the Quran, which calls for our very demise." He added, "I fought for this country, not to be damned by someone that comes in here and prays to their God for our demise. I think that's despicable."
President Pro Tempore David McBride (D) said afterwards that he would address Lawson's concern in a written statement. McBride said he was "personally offended" by Lawson’s comments and called it a "sad chapter" in the Delaware legislature. "And for our guests today to be branded as anti-American when our First Amendment of our country’s Constitution explicitly guarantees the freedom of religion is both ironic and deeply sad to me," McBride said, according to AP.
Lawson was unbowed, “You can’t be a good American and a good Muslim.” He said, “They don’t believe in our Constitution.”
Baqir invited Lawson to visit one of Delaware’s 12 mosques, which serve the approximately 10,000 Muslims in the state.