Kriseman silent on his Interfaith Week role, vocal on his muslim dinner role

The 4th annual “Tampa Bay Interfaith Week” began yesterday, October 1st.  St. Pete mayor Rick Kriseman spoke at the opening ceremony, which took place at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter in downtown St. Pete.

Despite mayor Kriseman’s participation, the official mayor’s office website has been silent on Interfaith Week. Instead, the mayor’s website highlights the Tampa Bay Area Muslim Association’s “Iftar dinner”, an event which Kriseman attended four months ago.

The city’s official Facebook page was also silent on Interfaith Week, not even mentioning it as an “upcoming event.” The only city post on Sunday, the first day of Interfaith Week, was this post announcing “the last game of the year for the Tampa Bay Rays. Spend your Sunday afternoon at the Trop cheering on your home team.  #RaysUp #BaseballForever”

The city’s Facebook page carried Kriseman’s official Ramadan proclamation live in May, yet did not carry Kriseman’s Interfaith Week proclamation live on Sunday. In fact, the city has posted no video of Kriseman’s Interfaith Week proclamation, has not shared the video of the Proclamation posted by Interfaith Week itself on their Facebook page, and has been silent on about Kriseman’s participation at Interfaith Week.

On the night of the Iftar Dinner last June, the city posted a video of Kriseman’s remarks at the dinner the same evening on its Facebook page (at 11:13 P.M.) The city’s communication department has posted none of Kriseman’s Interfaith Week opening remarks. Nothing was posted on the day they were made, nor by the time this article went live.

The above facts suggest either inconsistent city communications decisions, or a deliberate election strategy.

A review of Kriseman’s campaign Facebook page found the same communications trend as for official city communications. From May 1st through October 1st, Kriseman’s Facebook posts mentioned the muslim Iftar dinner six times and the muslim holy month of Ramadan four times (including “#Ramadan” once). Kriseman made no mention of Interfaith Week during that same time period.

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Editor’s note 10/11/2017: a previous version of this article stated that “the city’s communications director Ben Kirby is also a Kriseman campaign spokesman.” That erroneous claim was based on a misreading of this Politifact article.

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