Oklahoma Muslims host third annual Muslim Day at the Capitol
by Hayden Smith
Islamophobia is defined by prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims. This sentiment made itself present at the entrance to the Capitol on Oklahoma’s third annual Muslim Day via a group of self-proclaimed Christian protestors.
Amidst them were a few dedicated counter-protestors, Christian and Jewish allies, and a strong police presence that followed inside to the event proper.
According to CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), Oklahoma Muslims have seen a surge in Islamophobia that began in 2010 with the passage of State Question 755 (also known as the anti-Shariah Amendment) by 70 percent of the voting public.
Although this amendment was ruled unconstitutional and permanently banned in the state, it was an attempt by some of Oklahoma’s lawmakers to demonize and marginalize Oklahoma’s Muslim community.
Adam Soltani, the executive director of CAIR Oklahoma, led the afternoon portion of Muslim Day at the Capitol and introduced speakers. Events began with prayer led by Imam Imad Enchassi, who introduced his prayer with a more light-hearted tone, undercutting the tension just outside.
State Representative Jason Dunnington presented Soltani with a citation, giving a brief speech touching on the need for advocacy and intersectionality, stating, “This state is for everyone.”
Soltani echoed the sentiment. “We have nothing to apologize for. We have every right to be here.” In the face of Islamophobia, he promised, “Muslim Day at the capitol is our right as Oklahoma citizens. Nothing will ever stop us from exercising this right.”
Copyright The Gayly 3/2/2017 @ 3:50 p.m. CST