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Boykin Tempers Anti-Islam Tone At Ocean City Event

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Lt. Gen. William Boykin made an appearance Thursday at the Mayor's Annual Prayer Breakfast in Ocean City, Md. This happened despite days of protests by several groups calling for the mayor to cancel the speaking event and to rebuke Boykin's controversial statements about Islam.

Boykin was greeted to a standing ovation and the crowd of 400 seemed to hang on his every word as he recounted his years of military service and gave personal accounts of his Christianity and his faith in God.

Several groups, including the People for the American Way and the Council for American-Islamic Relations, called for both the cancellation of Boykin's speech and for city officials to officially denounce the general's controversial stances on Muslims, which include saying they "should not be protected under the first amendment" and that "Islam is a totalitarian way of life."

Boykin took a much different tack after delivering his speech: "The Muslim people are a precious people and I respect them and their right to worship, so long as they don't fall into the category of a radical who wants to destroy the Constitution."

Mayor Rick Meehan publicly spoke out against Boykin's controversial stances on the eve of the event, and did not interact with him during the breakfast other than to exchange a brief handshake. Meehan said he thought the event turned out positively and he hopes the controversy will blow over. 

For Boykin, however, the controversy never seems to die down. Another letter of protest has been sent by a group army veterans from both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars called Vote Vet asking that Boykin’s scheduled February speech to a group of young cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point be canceled.

Officials at West Point have initially taken the same stance as Ocean City did, ignoring the protests and, as of now, standing by General Boykin.

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