• Oklahoma Muslims Condemn Terrorism And Support Humanitarian Action – locally and internationally

    (Tulsa 11-16-15) The Islamic Council of Oklahoma, Oklahoma’s statewide council of mosques, Islamic schools and organizations, condemns ISIS’ terrorism and hopes for a way forward that ensures justice for the perpetrators and the victims and embodies compassion for the most vulnerable.

    The recent attacks on Paris, Beirut, Turkey and beyond are horrific and heart-breaking, nerve-wracking and reprehensible. They are the nightmares from which every peace-loving citizen of the world wants to be protected. The victims don’t need to be our family members or friends to warrant our heartfelt sympathy and hopes for recovery.

    Muslim organizations at every level on every continent have condemned these acts. There is no religious justification for them and Muslims have chapters of advice condemning them.

    Law-abiding Muslims feel just as threatened by these terrorists as their neighbors of other faiths. ISIS targets Muslims more often than others. Their actions have created refugees by the million.

    “We may live with the aftermath of the Syrian conflict for generations,” Jan Egeland, [a former U.N. humanitarian chief and current] head of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The conflict has killed some 200,000 people, created more than 3.9 million refugees, mostly in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and displaced 7.6 million people within Syria…” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/12/syria-war-children_n_6854612.html

    When asked to respond to reports that governors are writing letters to President Obama to prevent refugees from coming to their states, ICO Chair Sheryl Siddiqui said:

    “We should not let fear stop us from doing the right thing- stepping up in the worst humanitarian crisis in a generation. As people of faith, helping the homeless, the destitute and refugees are acts of faith and worship. Many traditions call it the Golden Rule.”

    “We know that many Middle Eastern and European countries have taken in huge numbers of refugees, well-beyond what their resources can bear. It is time for the U.S. to do its due diligence in screening refugees and for us to then take our turn.”

     

    ICO member organizations add their voices to the statement below:

    http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/256221/20151114/paris-attacks-u-s-muslim-coalition-respond-terror-condemn-horrific.htm

  • OKLAHOMA MUSLIMS HONOR ALL OF AMERICA’S VETERANS. CAIR-OK deserves our thanks.

    (Tulsa, OK 11-10-15) The Islamic Council of Oklahoma, Oklahoma’s statewide council of mosques, Islamic schools and Muslim organizations, says on behalf of its member organizations that it is time to recognize our veterans with due respect.

    Sheryl Siddiqui, ICO Chairperson, says about the Council on American Islamic Relations Oklahoma Chapter, “CAIR-OK deserves our thanks for their courage in this charged political climate for doing the right thing with their float for veterans in Wednesday’s Tulsa Veterans Day parade- for giving Oklahomans the chance to honor the veterans of all backgrounds who trained together, served together and had each other’s backs as they defended our Constitution, our freedoms and American interests.”

    Oklahoma Muslims are remembering their ancestors who fought in the American Revolution and all the wars since then.  Muslims are recognizing their family members with recent service to our country and the men and women who still serve. Muslims honor not only the Muslim soldiers who served under General George Washington and every President who followed but also every person who has dedicated their time and risked their lives for our country. That’s why they attend the Veterans Day Parades, tear up at the sight of the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds and support our military personnel by working for the Veterans Administration, the once active Tulsa “Mayor’s Jobs for Vets” program and for social service agencies.

    CAIR-OK was founded by Oklahomans in 2006 with no money from overseas. It has not fundraised outside of Oklahoma. Among the founders and board members are teachers, social workers, physicians, attorneys and people who have served honorably in the US military. It has defended the civil rights of Oklahomans, defended the Constitution, and worked to make Oklahoma a safer and more prosperous state. It has promoted human rights for all people and worked on humanitarian causes- like arriving first on the scene to help Oklahoma’s tornado victims, sponsoring blood drives and working at the state’s food banks. It has cooperated with and reached out to law enforcement at all levels and is active in the interfaith and social justice communities. While a few radicalized voices might make allegations, the people who know CAIR-Oklahoma best are those who work with them, day in and day out, in good times and times of crisis.  That is a broad range of partnering organizations.

    On Tuesday, Oklahoma City Imam Dr. Imad Enchassi visited the graves of the American Muslim veterans buried at Mercy Muslim Cemetery where he prayed for them. He called the veterans’ spouses and they prayed together. He asks Oklahomans, “How come one American can die for his country and be denied simple respect and thanks from those for whom he sacrificed everything when the people he served alongside are appropriately honored?”

    Tulsa Imam John Ederer said, “Let’s not turn our backs on any of America’s veterans. They all deserve our respect.”

    About the Islamic Council of Oklahoma

    The Islamic Council of Oklahoma (ICO) is a council of Oklahoma mosques, Islamic schools, and Muslim organizations serving more than 35,000 Muslims in Oklahoma. The council works to promote improved communication, cooperation and best practices among Islamic organizations to improve the everyday lives of Muslims and all Oklahomans.

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  • Tulsa Muslims are activists & Worker Bees with #beyondcoexistence. Tulsa Regional Food Bank

  • Open Mosque Day

    Find information about a mosque near you.

    First Ever State-wide Open Mosque Day from 1:00-4:00pm Sponsored by the Islamic Council of Oklahoma.

    Islam and Muslims are in the news almost every day. Did you ever ask a Muslim what they think about that? Citizenship compels patriots to know the stories beyond the headlines. Here’s your chance!

    Six mosques in the state are opening their doors for casual gatherings- great for meeting Muslims who are nothing like you see described in headlines. Get answers to your questions and concerns. Come on by! Have some food; make some friends and learn about your neighbors.

    Oklahoma mosques have hosted open houses for years. But Open Mosque day is different in that it a regional or state-wide coordinated effort to reach people who might have been misled to fear us. This is not about converting people- it is about understanding your neighbors and co-workers. Open mosque days started in Southern California. Now Chicago is also hosting them.

  • Open Letter to Governor and Legislature Supporting Removal of Ten Commandments Monument

    The Islamic Council of Oklahoma appreciates the efforts of the signers of this letter and stands in solidarity with them. Living and working respectfully, side-by-side with our neighbors and co-workers of all beliefs is a core teaching of our faith. Muslims are comfortable in the U.S. because of the compatibility of the Quran, Islam’s holy scriptures, and the U.S. Constitution. It is important to Muslims that the Constitution be upheld, as the Oklahoma Supreme Court has ensured by their vote.

     

    For Immediate Release

    Media Contact:  Tulsa Interfaith Alliance
    Name:  Rev. Bob Lawrence
    Title: Executive Director
    Phone: 918-991-5733
    Email address: tulsainterfaithalliance@gmail.com

    Open Letter to Governor and Legislature Supporting Removal of Ten Commandments Monument

    Interfaith Alliances and Friends Issue a Joint Statement

    OKLAHOMA CITY, AUGUST 18, 2015 – The Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, along with the Tulsa Interfaith Alliance, the national Interfaith Alliance, the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice, the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Respect Diversity Foundation, and others issued the following statement to Governor Mary Fallin and the leadership of the Oklahoma legislature calling on the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Oklahoma Capitol grounds. Members of all the supporting agencies are being invited to copy this letter and send it to their respective Senators and Representatives.

           “We strongly support the decision of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, that the Ten Commandments monument should not be on the grounds of our state Capitol. Others have pointed out that this monument on state government property violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Oklahoma County District Attorney has made an eloquent personal statement, as a committed Christian, as to why placing this monument on the grounds of state government is inappropriate, offensive to many, and even hypocritical.

           “The wording of the Oklahoma Constitution is very clear and the Supreme Court has done what it is supposed to do – to rule on the constitutionality of a law or action. We urge that our legislators, Governor, other Oklahoma officials, and Oklahoma citizens accept and obey this ruling. This was not a close decision, but a 7 to 2 vote, so a reversal of their decision was very unlikely. The Oklahoma Attorney General asked for a judicial review of the decision, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court turned this down. Further attempts to reverse this decision would be a significant waste of taxpayers’ money.

    “The Ten Commandments are important to many of us as a religious document. That they are part of the expression of our religious beliefs, and play a role in guiding our relationship with God and with our fellow human beings is not altered or prevented by insisting that the state abstain from any action, including funding, that would favor or promote any one religion or part thereof. There is nothing in our national constitution nor in our state constitution that refers to the Ten Commandments. To treat them as an “historical document” trivializes their religious significance, and is not an acceptable argument for placing them on the grounds of government property.

    “Those who would like to classify our nation as a Christian nation would do a grave disservice to the founders of our nation and to the citizens of our nation and state today. Our founders, whatever their personal religious beliefs, clearly were opposed to the creation of a theocracy. Governed by colonial England, in which there was an official state religion, and in which the relationship between crown and church involved a history of persecution of other religions, they had no desire to allow anything similar to be part of the free nation they were creating here in America. Indeed, they realized then, as we should realize now, that the various legislative proposals that would move us in the direction of a national religion would lead to a nation in which people of all but one religion would be merely tolerated, second class citizens. Too many have forgotten the history of Protestant colonies persecuting Catholics, and Catholic colonies persecuting Protestants. Baptists had much to fear from other Christian denominations in the Colonies. Such a situation repeatedly has been the cause of prejudicial persecution in other nations over a span of centuries. How many people of various religions, including Christian denominations, fled their home countries for this reason? How many people of various faiths have been uprooted and/or persecuted by theocratic domination, something they hoped would not happen or that they did not think could happen? Our constitution seeks to preserve true freedom of religion: freedom of religion and freedom from religion, freedom to practice one’s religion of choice or not to do so.

    “We also are very concerned about the calls to impeach members of the Supreme Court or to return to the discredited idea of electing and re-electing members of our higher courts. Our Supreme Court did exactly what it was supposed to do. Acting independently from the other branches of government, it decided NOT what the majority may want, but what is constitutional. Our nation’s founders knew how important it is to prevent the tyranny of the majority from depriving others of their constitutional rights. Our legislative branch has the right to make laws. We expect our legislators to be smart enough and responsible enough not to pass laws which, predictably, are unconstitutional and will waste taxpayers’ money with subsequent appeals. The current process for selection of justices in our higher courts is a good one, one that provides for selection of highly competent individuals, preserves their independence, and prevents legislators or the governor from threatening them when their decision is not what the legislature or governor want.”

    (signed)
    Carl J. Rubenstein, MD, President
    Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma

    Rev. Bob Lawrence, Executive Director
    Interfaith Alliance of Tulsa

    Rabbi Jack Moline, Executive Director
    Interfaith Alliance, National Office

    Jayme Cox, President & CEO
    Oklahoma Center for Community & Justice (OCCJ)

    Joan & Michael Korenblit
    Respect Diversity Foundation

    CAIR Oklahoma

    Rabbi Vered Harris
    Temple B’nai Israel, Oklahoma City

    Rabbi Abby Jacobson
    Temple Emanuel, Oklahoma City

    About the Tulsa Interfaith Alliance

    The Tulsa Interfaith Alliance is a non-partisan, faith-based advocacy group that works diligently to maintain the separation of church and state, to address issues of unconstitutional religious expression, and to raise awareness of the greater good that people of all faiths, and no faith, bring to society. Our work is directed toward the public square, not individual faith communities.

    We are a recognized affiliate of the national Interfaith Alliance, and an approved Partner of the international Charter for Compassion Campaign.

    We identify with these core values: religious liberty, diversity and tolerance, and the absolute separation of church and state.

    You can find us on Facebook at TulsaInterfaithAlliance, on twitter at TulsaInterfaith, or via email at tulsainterfaithalliance@gmail.com.

  • ICO Press release- Oklahoma Muslims join National #Feed Their Legacy Campaign

    logo

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Sheryl Siddiqui

    918.706.3595

    OKLAHOMA MUSLIMS JOIN NATIONAL #FEED THEIR LEGACY CAMPAIGN

    Mosques and Schools Feed Hungry in Memory of Slain Youth

     

    (Tulsa 3/28/15) The Islamic Council of Oklahoma, Oklahoma’s statewide council of Muslim organizations, reports that Oklahoma mosques and Islamic schools joined over 220 other organizations in a national campaign to feed the hungry. Participating member organizations:

    • Mercy School in Edmond, campaign contact: Ms. Sajida Shahjahan, 405.412.7424
    •  Peace Academy in Tulsa and Islamic Society of Tulsa contact: Sheryl Siddiqui 918.706.3595
    •  Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City campaign: Mr. Saad Mohammed, 405.210.4775

    The #FeedTheirLegacy campaign was started as a way of remembering three extraordinary young American Muslims- Mr. Deah Barakat, Ms. Yusor Abu-Salha and Ms. Razan Abu-Salha, all community servants, who were murdered in February in North Carolina. The last entry in dental student Deah’s Facebook page was a picture of him feeding homeless individuals in North Carolina after which he gave out 75 dental care kits.

    The victims’ families have urged American Muslims to respond to hate with kindness, to focus on their legacies of service rather than their brutal murders. Directly after the tragic shooting, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) joined with many other Muslim American organizations, in a historically unprecedented way to discuss how to collectively respond and honor the victims’ legacies. Together with the victims’ families, the #FeedTheirLegacy campaign was launched. The goal is to collect 100,000 cans nationally by Monday March 30th to stock local food pantries and other organizations that serve the hungry and homeless.

    As of March 27th, the national campaign had registered over 95,000 donated food items. Oklahoma ranked 16th of the 34 states participating in the campaign with over 2000 cans donated in 1 week. While the final numbers will not be entered until Monday, it is expected that the national goal will be easily reached. The website has frozen all entries until Monday to build the suspense.

    At noon Monday, Peace Academy students will be comparing their final count to national’s at the mosque: 4630 South Irvington Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74135. Media welcome!

    About the Islamic Council of Oklahoma:

     

    The Islamic Council of Oklahoma (ICO) is a council of Oklahoma mosques and Islamic schools, serving more than 35,000 Muslims in Oklahoma. The council works to promote improved communication, cooperation and best practices among Islamic organizations to improve the everyday lives of Muslims and all Oklahomans.

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    “Believers do not eat their fill while their neighbors go hungry.” Prophet Muhammad

    https://www.facebook.com/events/445339332289243/          IST-PA FeedTheirLegacy Facebook event

    https://feedtheirlegacy.herokuapp.com/info/resources-press-release/  National Feed Their Legacy site

  • Islamic Society of Tulsa, interfaith community to host prayer and awareness campaign Sunday for three Muslims murdered execution-style in Chapel Hill, N.C

    TULSA – The interfaith community will host a prayer at 4:15 p.m. Sunday at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in memory of the three Muslim students who were murdered in Chapel Hill, N.C., this week.

    “I know many who were close to them and they were just the most lovable genuinely good people who lived in service to humanity,” said the John Ederer, imam of the Islamic Society of Tulsa, which organized the event. Ederer was an Imam in Charlotte, N.C., for four years before coming to Tulsa recently.

    Numerous entities, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, are calling on law enforcement authorities to address speculation about a possible bias motive for the killing of Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

    “Based on the brutal nature of this crime, the past anti-religion statements of the alleged perpetrator, the religious attire of two of the victims, and the rising anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to quickly address speculation of a possible bias motive in this case,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

    The FBI launched an investigation into the case on Thursday.

    Several members of the interfaith community will speak at the prayer event.

     

     

  • Muslim Scholars Release Open Letter To Islamic State Meticulously Blasting Its Ideology

    WASHINGTON (RNS) More than 120 Muslim scholars from around the world joined an open letter to the “fighters and followers” of the Islamic State, denouncing them as un-Islamic by using the most Islamic of terms.

    Relying heavily on the Quran, the 18-page letter released Wednesday (Sept. 24) picks apart the extremist ideology of the militants who have left a wake of brutal death and destruction in their bid to establish a transnational Islamic state in Iraq and Syria.

    Even translated into English, the letter will still sound alien to most Americans, said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, who released it in Washington with 10 other American Muslim religious and civil rights leaders.

    “The letter is written in Arabic. It is using heavy classical religious texts and classical religious scholars that ISIS has used to mobilize young people to join its forces,” said Awad, using one of the acronyms for the group. “This letter is not meant for a liberal audience.”

    Even mainstream Muslims, he said, may find it difficult to understand.

    Awad said its aim is to offer a comprehensive Islamic refutation, “point-by-point,” to the philosophy of the Islamic State and the violence it has perpetrated. The letter’s authors include well-known religious and scholarly figures in the Muslim world, including Sheikh Shawqi Allam, the grand mufti of Egypt, and Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem and All Palestine.

    A translated 24-point summary of the letter includes the following: “It is forbidden in Islam to torture”; “It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God”; and “It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslims until he (or she) openly declares disbelief.”

    This is not the first time Muslim leaders have joined to condemn the Islamic State. The chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek, for example, last week told the nation’s Muslims that they should speak out against the “terrorist and murderers” who fight for the Islamic State and who have dragged Islam “through the mud.”

    But the Muslim leaders who endorsed Wednesday’s letter called it an unprecedented refutation of the Islamic State ideology from a collaboration of religious scholars. It is addressed to the group’s self-anointed leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, and “the fighters and followers of the self-declared ‘Islamic State.’”

    But the words “Islamic State” are in quotes, and the Muslim leaders who released the letter asked people to stop using the term, arguing that it plays into the group’s unfounded logic that it is protecting Muslim lands from non-Muslims and is resurrecting the caliphate — a state governed by a Muslim leader that once controlled vast swaths of the Middle East.

    “Please stop calling them the ‘Islamic State,’ because they are not a state and they are not a religion,” said Ahmed Bedier, a Muslim and the president of United Voices of America, a nonprofit that encourages minority groups to engage in civic life.

    President Obama has made a similar point, referring to the Islamic State by one of its acronyms — “the group known as ISIL” — in his speech to the United Nations earlier Wednesday. In that speech, Obama also disconnected the group from Islam.

    Enumerating its atrocities — the mass rape of women, the gunning down of children, the starvation of religious minorities — Obama concluded: “No God condones this terror.”

    Here is the executive summary of their letter:

    1. It is forbidden in Islam to issue fatwas without all the necessary learning requirements. Even then fatwas must follow Islamic legal theory as defined in the Classical texts. It is also forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Qur’an—or part of a verse—to derive a ruling without looking at everything that the Qur’an and Hadith teach related to that matter. In other words, there are strict subjective and objective prerequisites for fatwas, and one cannot ‘cherry-pick’ Qur’anic verses for legal arguments without considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.

    2. It is forbidden in Islam to issue legal rulings about anything without mastery of the Arabic language.

    3. It is forbidden in Islam to oversimplify Shari’ah matters and ignore established Islamic sciences.

    4. It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.

    5. It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings.

    6. It is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent.

    7. It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.

    8. Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose and without the right rules of conduct.

    9. It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslim unless he (or she) openly declares disbelief.

    10. It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat—in any way—Christians or any ‘People of the Scripture’.

    11. It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as People of the Scripture.

    12. The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus.

    13. It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.

    14. It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights.

    15. It is forbidden in Islam to deny children their rights.

    16. It is forbidden in Islam to enact legal punishments (hudud) without following the correct
    procedures that ensure justice and mercy.

    17. It is forbidden in Islam to torture people.

    18. It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead.

    19. It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God.

    20. It is forbidden in Islam to destroy the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions.

    21. Armed insurrection is forbidden in Islam for any reason other than clear disbelief by the ruler and not allowing people to pray.

    22. It is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without consensus from all Muslims.

    23. Loyalty to one’s nation is permissible in Islam.

    24. After the death of the Prophet, Islam does not require anyone to emigrate anywhere.

    Read the full letter here.

  • Thank You Veterans!

    Muslims Thank Our Veterans
    The Islamic Council of Oklahoma recognizes the service and sacrifices made by America’s current military men and women as well as those who served in the past. There are presently several thousand Muslims serving side by side with Americans of all other faiths in the US military. Many of these Muslims are the children or nieces and nephews of other Muslims who served in Vietnam and other actions. We appreciate the willingness of those in service to forgo some of their own freedoms to ensure our Constitutional rights, safety and opportunities. May God protect their lives, their health and their sanity. And Bless their families with strength, patience and understanding. And may the rest of us work together to ensure that they always feel that they are fighting for a people who are good and worthy of their sacrifices.

  • Muslims shocked by Killing at Vaughan Plant Today

    MUSLIMS ALSO SHOCKED BY KILLING AT VAUGHAN PLANT TODAY
    Muslims send sympathies to victims, families & co-workers

    (Tulsa 9/26/14) The Islamic Council of Oklahoma reports that Oklahoma Muslims are shocked, horrified and saddened about the loss of innocent life at Moore’s Vaughan facility today. Sympathies go to the victims as well as the families and co-workers of the women who were attacked. Oklahoma Muslims, like all other Oklahomans, work and attend school with the belief that those are safe places to go.
    Workplace and school killings are tragic but are unfortunately becoming more common in America. Every loss is felt by family, friends and strangers. No religious or political goal is ever achieved by these acts. The Alabama UPS workplace murders last week are just as upsetting.
    Mr. Nolen, the alleged assailant, has been reported by media outlets as a recent convert to Islam. According to Sheryl Siddiqui, Spokesperson for the Islamic Council of Oklahoma, “He was not known to any of the leadership in Oklahoma mosques. We do not have any confirmation of his conversion either in prison or out in the community.”
    Muslims are supporting law enforcement efforts to perform their due diligence and seek justice in this case.
    About the Islamic Council of Oklahoma:

    The Islamic Council of Oklahoma (ICO) is a council of Oklahoma mosques and Islamic schools, serving more than 35,000 Muslims in Oklahoma. The council works to promote improved communication, cooperation and best practices among Islamic organizations to improve the everyday lives of Muslims and all Oklahomans. ###

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