OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today welcomed stepped-up security offered by law enforcement authorities for its second Annual Muslim Day at the Capitol this Friday, February 26, following online threats and calls to protest the civic participation of that state’s Muslim community. Some 250 Muslims from across the state are expected to take part in Friday’s event.
Threats to protest or disrupt the Muslim Day at the Capitol include online comments such as: “Everyone should simply put as big a pocketful of bacon bits in their pockets and throw it like wedding confetti all over those neanderthal [sic] b*tards.”
At last year’s event, protesters hurled insults at Muslims who attended the lobbying day. This year, the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Conference of Churches have volunteered to escort participants to and from the Capitol building, providing a “corridor of support" against protesters. Other volunteers will provide support throughout the day and will rally outside the Capitol with messages of tolerance and solidarity.
“This year’s Oklahoma Muslim Day at the Capitol comes at an incredibly important time in our nation’s history, as we prepare to cast our votes in the Oklahoma presidential primary,” said CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani. “As a faith community that has been demonized by some elected leaders in our state, and now by those running for our nation’s highest office, we hope to build bridges of understand on this day and have our voices heard by our state government.”
The event features workshops and seminars on civic engagement and other relevant topics, with legal scholars, elected officials and community leaders as panelists. Attendees will also enjoy a catered lunch, a keynote address from Rep. George E. Young, Sr., and an Interfaith Jumah (Friday) prayer, which will include religious leaders from a variety of faith traditions.
“The workshops and speakers are intended to help our community grow their understanding of some of the biggest problems facing Oklahoma,” said CAIR-OK Operations Coordinator Anna Facci. “By bringing people together at the Oklahoma State Capitol, we hope to encourage Muslims around the state to become more actively engaged in their communities and their state government.”
Last year, CAIR-OK’s Muslim Day at the Capitol brought some 200 attendees to its inaugural event. It also drew several dozen protestors. Along with insults hurled at Muslim participants, protesters attempted to disrupt an interfaith prayer, leading to one protester being removed from the building.
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