Photo Causing a Stir in Wakulla County

The picture posted to commissioner Thomas' Facebook page.
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By: Chris Gros
October 5, 2015

WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla. -- A picture is creating a stir on social media in the Wakulla County community. The photo shows a group of Muslim men praying on Mashes Sands Beach. The photo was snapped and posted to Facebook by Wakulla County Commissioner Ralph Thomas. One man running for Sheriff wants the Commission to take action over it, while others defend the men.

Will Dance, a candidate for Wakulla County Sheriff, doesn’t think County officials should just ignore it.

"When a group of military aged Muslim men gather on the beach the question needs to be asked, ‘Why are they here?’" Dance said.

It appears the men are simply praying.

Dance brought the issue up to Commissioners Monday. We asked Dance if it’s fair to single the group out.

"It's not about singling them out. It's not about xenophobia. This is not anti-Muslim. This is not a Muslim family having on the beach a barbecue. This wasn't a Muslim father fishing with his sons. This was a group of military-aged Muslims who are on the beach praying and the question needs to be asked, 'Do they adhere to sharia law or the constitution?'" Dance said.

The photo was snapped and posted to Facebook by County Commissioner Ralph Thomas. Thomas says he took it simply because he's never seen the prayer take place in the County.

"It was just an unusual event. I thought it was interesting photo. I put it out there. I made no negative comments. I made no insinuations, I made no attacks on their religion on their being there," said Commissioner Thomas.

The picture itself has been shared nearly 300 times on Facebook, and has received mixed comments.

Commissioner Ralph Thomas defends not deleting negative comments on the photo. He says he respects the group's right to practice their religion, but won't censor other's freedom of speech.

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