Protesters Disrupt Hindu Prayer In Senate
Police Remove Three From Visitors Gallery Who Shouted During Invocation By Hindu Clergyman
(AP) A Hindu clergyman made history Thursday by offering the U.S. Senate's morning prayer, but only after police officers removed three shouting protesters from the visitors' (ed note-peanut) gallery.
Rajan Zed, director of interfaith relations at a Hindu temple, gave the brief prayer that opens each day's Senate session. As he stood at the chamber's podium in a bright orange and burgundy robe, two women and a man began shouting "this is an abomination" and other complaints from the gallery.
Police officers quickly arrested them and charged them with disrupting Congress, a misdemeanor. The male protester told an Associated Press reporter, "we are Christians and patriots" before police handcuffed them and led them away.
For several days, the Mississippi-based American Family Association has urged its members to object to the prayer because Zed would be "seeking the invocation of a non-monotheistic god."
As the Senate prepared for another day of debate over the Iraq war, Zed closed with, "Peace, peace, peace be unto all."