CHARLESTON — Resolutions to publicly reprimand or remove Del. Mike Caputo, for kicking open a door after he witnessed an anti-Muslim display last week, were tabled Friday.
Meanwhile, the vice president of the Islamic Association of West Virginia said she'd like to see Republican leadership in the West Virginia Legislature focus on condemnation of Islamophobia instead of disciplining Caputo, D-Marion and the minority whip.
Nearly 30 West Virginia Republicans had introduced a resolution to publicly reprimand Caputo for kicking open a door at the Capitol into a doorkeeper last week. Del. Marshall Wilson, R-Berkeley, had introduced another resolution to expel Caputo from the House of Delegates.
Caputo has said he was angry following arguments at an anti-Muslim display inside the Capitol rotunda, displayed during a West Virginia Republican Party "Republicans Take The Rotunda" event. He has said he wanted to check on members inside the rotunda after the emotionally-charged incident, but a doorkeeper, who sought medical attention, blocked his entry.
The West Virginia Democratic Party had posted on Twitter: "We stand with Delegate Mike Caputo against hate." Democrats have also criticized the GOP for failing to take any action against Del. Eric Porterfield, R-Mercer, who compared "the LGBTQ" to the KKK earlier this session.
Caputo, who lost his committee assignments followed the incident, has since apologized and said he made the wrong decision.
Local delegates Roy Cooper, R-Summers; Tony Paynter, R-Wyoming; and Brandon Steele, R-Raleigh, were among the Republicans who joined Democrats to table both motions. Chris Toney, R - Raleigh, voted to table the motion to expel, but not to table the motion to censure.
Also Friday, faith leaders from the Islamic, Christian and Jewish communities — Episcopal Bishop Mike Klusmeyer; Ibtesam Barazi, vice president of the Islamic Association on West Virginia; and Charleston Rabbi Victor Urecki — led the morning prayer.
"I think the Republican motion to reprimand Delegate Caputo is preposterous," Barazi said, in a text message. "They should be taking a reprimand action against Delegate Porterfield, who attacked the LGBT community."
She said she continues to worry "some deranged person" will become violent toward the Muslim community, "like the horrible incident in Pittsburgh at the Synagogue."
She said while she appreciates the opportunity to participate in the prayer, she also noted that West Virginia House and Senate Republican leadership have not specifically condemned anti-Muslim sentiment.
"This is a toxic environment we are living in!" she said. "They should follow the lead of the Democratic Congress and condemn Islamophobia and anti-Semitism."
The United States House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning Islamophobia and anti-Semitism on Thursday, national news outlets reported.
"When the world is about to be narrowed, people of faith and dreamers of hope need to come together to enlarge the road and remind everyone that we travel this sacred soil as brothers and sisters," Urecki posted on Facebook, along with a photo from the prayer.
"Thank you Delegate Cindy Lavender-Bowe for the invitation," he said, referencing the Democratic Greenbrier County delegate.
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