GOP Rep. Stephanie Borowicz Branded 'Racist Islamaphobe' Over Jesus-filled Prayer in Front of Pennsylvania House's First Muslim Woman

A first-year member of the Pennsylvania House has been slammed as a "racist Islamaphobe" after she delivered a controversial prayer describing Jesus as "our only hope" and praising President Donald Trump before the swearing in of the chamber's first Muslim woman.

State Representative Stephanie Borowicz has said she simply prayed "how I pray every day" when she delivered a nearly two-minute prayer on Monday that was heavy on Christian imagery and praised Trump for standing beside Israel, shortly before state Representative Movita Johnson-Harrell was sworn in. "I don't apologize ever for praying," Borowicz told The Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

However, fellow state representative Summer Lee, a Democrat, has said Borowicz's prayer, which received swift condemnation from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), "was so bad that another Rep cried 'objection'" in the middle of it.

Shortly after the incident unfolded, Lee railed against Borowicz's actions on twitter, tweeting: "We're swearing in the 1st Black Muslim woman to the PA General Assembly. To honor the occasion [House Speaker Mike Turzai] invites the most inappropriate, racist, islamophobe to ramble a 'prayer' thanking Trump, Jesus, and Israel."

"Most inappropriate thing I've witnessed in my 4 months," Lee, who became the first black woman to represent southwestern Pennsylvania in the state Legislature this year, added.

Today we're swearing in the 1st Black Muslim woman to the PA General Assembly. To honor the occasion @RepTurzai invites the most inappropriate, racist, islamophobe to ramble a "prayer" thanking Trump, Jesus, and Israel. Most inappropriate thing ive witnessed in my 4 months

— Summer Lee (@SummerForPA) March 25, 2019

Since delivering her prayer, Borowicz has faced calls that she be censured from both Johnson-Harrell and CAIR.

In a statement to the Capital-Star, Johnson-Harrell, who accused Borowicz of Islamaphobia, said she believed "there should definitely be censure because we need to be promoting inclusion, not division."

Meanwhile, CAIR Philadelphia joined in the calls for censure in a statement that condemned Borowicz for leading a prayer "filled with divisive and intolerant anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish rhetoric."

"On this significant day, when Pennsylvanians of all backgrounds could celebrate the swearing-in of the Commonwealth's first female Muslim House member—thus expanding the tradition of religious freedom so important to the history of this Commonwealth—Republican Representative Stephanie Borowicz chose instead to deliver a thinly veiled attack on the Islamic faith of Representative Johnson-Harrell that failed to meet even the most minimum standards of mutual respect and religious tolerance," CAIR Philadelphia Executive Director Jacob Bender said.

"The intolerant ideology of Borowicz's bigoted bombast, rife with right-wing Christian triumphalism and obvious Islamophobic and anti-Semitic tropes, was long ago rejected by all mainstream Christian denominations in this country," Bender said.

"Stephanie Borowicz deserves to be censured by the entire Pennsylvania House of Representatives so that it is abundantly clear that hate speech against any religion has no place in our republic's political process," he added.

According to the Capital-Star, Turzai called on legislators to remember to "deliver an interfaith prayer" when speaking in remarks made from the floor. "As you are preparing your thoughts, we'd ask that you craft a prayer that is respectful of all religious belief," Turzai said.

On Tuesday, the House speaker's office circulated a video that showed a Muslim cleric offering a blessing following Borowicz's prayer, in an apparent bid to show that House leadership had tried to enforce that standard.