An organization of American Muslims said Thursday that Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, should apologize publicly for saying it is a subsidiary of violent Middle East groups.

In reply, Haler issued a press release saying he has apologized twice in private for his remarks.

The controversy dates back to a Jan. 14 hearing of the Washington House Judiciary Committee on a bill by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien to repeal a state Cold War sedition law. Instead, committee members Haler and Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, wanted to keep that law intact and add Middle East terrorist organizations to it.

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