• Oklahoma Muslims observe Eid ul-Adha today

    Many observant Oklahoma Muslims are celebrating Eid ul-Adha today, Thursday, Sept. 24.
    It is the Festival of the Sacrifice, a celebration that often spans between three and four days.

    According to a news release from the Islamic Council of Oklahoma,  the Saudi government announced that the “Hajjis” (Muslim pilgrims in Mecca) observed the Day of Arafat on Wednesday , Sept. 23, the most imporant day of the Hajj.  Eid ul- Adha is the celebration that follows the Day of Arafat.

    “Oklahoma’s 35,000 Muslims who are not on their pilgrimage traditionally fast in solidarity with three million Hajjis, while the Hajjis spend the Day of Arafat in devout worship. During the 10 days leading up to Eid, Muslims around the world will spend more time reading scripture, in prayer, fasting and doing good deeds for people near and far. Most will monitor the Hajj through Skype, Instagram, Facebook, C-Span,”  Sheryl Siddiqui, spokeswoman for the Islamic Council of Oklahoma, said in a news release.

    Siddiqui, in her news release, said today is that day that many Oklahoma Muslims will likely be absent from school and work. She said holiday congregational services will be held in the morning to remind them of Prophet Abraham’s steadfast obedience to God, even when God called upon him to sacrifice that which was most dear to him- his son.

    ” When the Prophet made preparations to comply, God demonstrated His Grace by sparing Abraham’s son’s life. God reminded Abraham and all of us that life is precious and that we should be thankful,” Siddiqui said in the prepared statement.

    She said today through Sunday will be days of performing religious rituals and festivities, sharing blessings through gifts of food and hospitality. The traditional Eid greeting is “Eid Mubarak!” (eed moo-bar’-uk) which means, “May you have a blessed holiday!”

    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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    The Oklahoman is checking with the local Muslim community about the safety of any Oklahomans who made the Hajj pilgrimage this year. 

    CNN and other news outlets have reported that a stampede during one of the last rituals of the Hajj season —   the annual pilgrimage to Mecca — has killed hundreds of people and injured 800 others in Saudi Arabia.

    The stampede occurred this morning during the ritual known as “stoning the devil” in the tent city of Mina, about 2 miles from Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, according to CNN reports.

    Posted by Carla Hinton

    Religion Editor    

  • 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. ###

  • MUSLIMS’ RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY OBSERVANCES COINCIDE WITH THE HAJJ Friday, October 3rd is Day of Arafat and Saturday, October 4th is Eid ul-Adha

    (Tulsa 9/26/14) The Islamic Council of Oklahoma has received confirmation that the Eid ul-Adha celebration commences on Saturday October 4, 2014. The Saudi Supreme Court announced that the “Hajjis” (Muslim pilgrims in Mecca) will observe the Day of Arafat on Friday, October 3rd, the most important day of the Hajj. Eid ul- Adha, the Festival of the Sacrifice, is the three day celebration that follows the Day of Arafat.

    Oklahoma’s 35,000 Muslims who are not on their pilgrimage traditionally fast in solidarity with two-to-three million Hajjis, while the Hajjis spend the Day of Arafat in devout worship. During the 10 days leading up to Eid, Muslims around the world will spend more time reading scripture, in prayer, fasting and doing good deeds for people near and far. Most will monitor the Hajj through Skype, Instagram, Facebook, C-Span…

    Saturday, the first of the three days of 2014’s Eid al-Adha celebration is the day that Oklahoma Muslims will likely be absent from work. Holiday congregational services will be held in the morning that remind us of Prophet Abraham’s steadfast obedience to God, even when God called upon him to sacrifice that which was most dear to him- his son. When the Prophet made preparations to comply, God demonstrated His Grace by sparing Abraham’s son’s life. God proved to Abraham and to all of us that life is precious and that we should be thankful.

    Saturday, Sunday and Monday will be days of performing religious rituals and festivities, sharing our blessings through gifts of food and hospitality. The traditional Eid greeting is “Eid Mubarak!” (eed moo-bar’-uk)- May you have a blessed holiday!

  • Oklahoma Muslims join global Muslims in condemning ISIS

  • ICO Seeks Part-time Employee

    PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT
    The Islamic Council of Oklahoma (ICO) is seeking a qualified individual to fill a part-time paid position. This position will be under the direct supervision of the Executive Board of the ICO. Responsibilities shall not exceed 10-15 hours per week for no more than $1500 per month. Responsibilities shall include the following:
    (1) Regularly give Friday sermons in member masjids within reasonable driving distance.
    (2) Actively participate in all ICO activities
    (3) Attend all monthly ICO Board meetings (some are held by teleconference)
    (4) Keep record of monthly meeting minutes, annual actions and monthly plans
    (5) Help in bookkeeping
    (6) Coordinate fundraising efforts
    (7) Help in the organization of the ICO annual convention and fundraising dinner

    The Successful candidate will be given an ICO-owned cell phone and ICO-owned laptop for use only in ICO business and will be reimbursed for expenses while conducting ICO business.

    Minimum qualifications are: (1) Able to give inspiring khutbahs (2) Basic computer skills (3) Can drive (4) Owns a reliable car.
    Interested candidates should submit: (1) A letter of intent (2) A copy of his driving license (3) Proof of eligibility to work in the US (4) At least 2 letters of recommendation from leaders commenting on his previous involvement with the local masjid and related activities. Applications should be addressed to: The President of ICO, c/o Chairman of the Search Committee and emailed to Khaled.mansy@gmail.com. Review of applications begins immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Duties are expected to commence shortly after. For questions regarding this position, send an email to the email address above.

    ICO invites all individuals who have the passion and capacity to apply for this position. ICO also urges all community members to encourage potential candidates to apply.

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