A Jacksonville City Council committee voted Tuesday to confirm reappointing Parvez Ahmed to the city’s Human Rights Commission.
The vote by the Rules Committee clears the way for a decision by the full council next week, although the 4-3 split of the panel showed divisions remain.
Backers cheered the vote as a step to lay to rest local debates about Muslim values that began when Ahmed, a former national chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was first appointed to the commission in 2010.
“I think it was a terrific decision on the part of the council … to move forward,” said Celeste Krueger, executive director of OneJax, an interfaith group that had supported Ahmed’s reappointment.
Ahmed, who was born in India, is a University of North Florida finance professor.
Rules Chairman Clay Yarborough had said he would defer a committee vote for two weeks so the decision could coincide with action on legislation to shrink the 20-seat commission to 11 members.
But Councilman John Crescimbeni appealed that during the committee meeting, gathering four of the seven committee votes to go ahead without delay.
In addition to Crescimbeni, the reappointment was supported by Lori Boyer, Warren Jones and Jim Love. Voting no were Yarborough, Ray Holt and Robin Lumb.
Critics, who spoke at last two full council meetings, had argued Ahmed was too supportive of Muslim sensibilities — and was willing to curtail free speech by supporting laws that would restrict comments considered blasphemous. Some critics also said the Council on American-Islamic Relations had been a front for terrorist-aligned groups, a premise that others dismissed.
Clearly those others are clueless. No less than a federal judge has ruled that CAIR is a front for Hamas. The FBI has also banned meetings with CAIR.
Lumb said he had wanted to ask Ahmed about his commitment to free speech and was frustrated that other council members voted to act that day.
From our post the last time Jacksonville sided with sharia, via this 2006 Powerline report:
Who is Parvez Ahmed? Ahmed was a prominent supporter of Sami Al-Arian[page now deleted], the convicted terrorist financier and head of the North American branch of the terrorist Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Ahmed called for Al-Arian’s release before he pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges, admitting that the government’s allegation that he was the head of the North American branch of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
More on CAIR and Ahmed: