Council votes to reappoint Parvez Ahmed

Published On: Feb 26 2013 03:10:22 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 27 2013 07:10:29 AM EST

VIDEO: A controversial member of Jacksonville's Human Rights Commission has been re-appointed. Jacksonville's City Council voted 13 to 6 vote in favor of Parvez Ahmed during Tuesday night's meeting.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Jacksonville City Council voted 13-6 Tuesday evening to approve the reappointment of Parvez Ahmed to the city's Human Rights Commission.

Ahmed's appointment and reappointment had been the topic of controversy.

Ahmed joined the board three years ago. He is Muslim, and his religious beliefs and ties to some controversial organizations sparked protests during council meetings while his appointment was being debated.

Last week, the council's rules committee voted to approve Ahmed's reappointment by a 4-3 vote.

Many people were expected to talk about the issue during the public comment portion of the meeting.

"We're not trying to single out somebody in the Islamic faith," said Raymond Johnson, who opposes Ahmed's reappointment.

"I'm not happy, definitely not happy, especially with all the documents that have been presented," said Bonnie Kleinik. 

"Hopefully the debate tonight will be very civil," councilman Warren Jones said before the vote. "And Dr. Ahmed has done nothing in his three years on the Human Rights Commission to convince anyone of reason that he should not be reappointed."

"It shows a shift, a shift toward acceptance. Toward understanding difference. Shows a shift toward accepting diversity in the community. It's not where we want to be. I'd like to have it 19-0," said Thomas Serwatka.

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