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Marshfield Council hears concern over prayers at meeting


MARSHFIELD, WI (WSAU) - It appears the invocation preceding Marshfield’s Common Council meeting is turning into a source of controversy once again.

Dr. Qasim Raza, the Imam of a local mosque in Marshfield, was scheduled to deliver the opening prayer for this week’s meeting. Even though the Muslim leader failed to show up, objections from the public about having an Islamic invocation ensued. Marshfield resident Tom Watson said, “I want to raise an objection to your having a member of the Islamic faith to offer an invocation at this meeting.”

Mayor Chris Meyer explained that, “the invocation on the Common Council agenda is not organized by the City of Marshfield. The invocation is organized by area clergy.” Meyer added that the current policy of inclusion was adapted because, “we do want to keep the separation of church and state in mind, but we do want to give people an opportunity to express their faith.”

The invocation was a point of controversy in the past when much of it was delivered in Arabic, and again when the Freedom From Religion Foundation questioned the use of any invocation prayer whatsoever.