JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Some maneuvering and finagling by City Council members may keep a controversial Muslim appointment on the Human Rights Commission.
The discussion centers on Parvez Ahmed (pictured, below), whose reappointment to the commission took a turn in his favor Tuesday. The rules committee approved his reappointment, even though the chairman tried to delay it.
Ahmed's nomination was expected to be put on hold to allow the full council to take up the question of cutting the size of the commission. But Tuesday's move by some council members derailed that as one member called out just what he says is really go on -- a backdoor approach to keep a Ahmed off the commission.
"I mean, Stevie Wonder could see though that," councilman Warren Jones said. "Everybody knows the motive behind the legislation. Let's be honest. So for those who want to vote against Dr. Ahmed fine, but let's move on and not put this in the media anymore."
Normally, reappointments to boards are a no-brainer, but that's not the case for Ahmed. Some are questioning his Muslim background and ties to some controversial organizations.
Chair of the rules committee Clay Yarborough wanted to hold off on Ahmed's approval Tuesday. But councilman John Crescimbeni called for a surprise appeal and won.
"I felt the leadership on this issue was lacking and someone needed to step up and try to move this forward," Crescimbeni said. "It's an uncommon parliamentary procedure rarely used. I regret that is what it took to make it happen, but there were no other options available."
And by a vote of 4-3, the committee gave approval for Ahmed. It will now go to the full council, much to the dismay of councilman Robin Lumb, who says he wanted to question Ahmed about his past.
"I cringe when I recall certain episodes that occurred during that process," Lumb said. "But I have been inundated with emails accusing me because I want to question Dr. Ahmed or not support his reappointment that I must be acting from base motive. That it has to have something to do with his religion or ethnicity. That is obscured. For the four members of this committee to basically vote that you have no confidence in your colleagues to have a thoughtful intelligent discussion on this. I was planning on asking Dr. Ahmed a number of questions. That opportunity is now foreclosed."
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