Lawmaker with 'vendetta' against Islam challenged to repudiate intolerance
(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 6/27/10) -- The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today called on the sponsor of an anti-Islam ballot measure to repudiate the targeting of a Muslim family in that state by Islamophobic lawn signs.
The signs were placed facing the new home of a Muslim family of Indian heritage moving into an Edmond, Okla., neighborhood.
CAIR Video: Okla. Neighbor Posts Yard Signs Opposing New Residents
CAIR-OK said State Representative Rex Duncan (R-Sand Springs), the sponsor a November ballot measure that would ban local courts from considering Islamic law, should acknowledge that his actions have contributed to a growing level of Islamophobia in Oklahoma and nationwide.
SEE: Sharia (Islamic Law) Not O.K. in Oklahoma (Fox)
Duncan has in the past proposed legislation prohibiting Muslim women from wearing religious head scarves (hijab) in driver's license photos and refused to accept a Quran, Islam's revealed text, from a Muslim advisory council.
SEE: Ignorance is the Enemy (Tulsa World)
Duncan said he refused to accept the Quran because, "Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology."
"Representative Duncan's bizarre vendetta against Islam will inevitably have a negative impact on the lives of ordinary Muslims and sends the false message that our great state is intolerant of minorities," said CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi. "I urge Representative Duncan to acknowledge the harm he is doing to interfaith relations in our state and to meet with Oklahoma Muslim leaders."
Hashmi noted that CAIR offices nationwide are reporting a rise in anti-Muslim incidents.
CAIR Video: Hate Groups Promoting Islamophobia in America
He said CAIR's Washington State chapter on Thursday called for an FBI hate crime investigation into vandalism of a van with advertisements about Islam on its exterior and parked near a mosque that was smeared with feces.
Yesterday, CAIR called on Republican Party leaders to repudiate Islamophobic remarks by a GOP congressional candidate in Tennessee who claims the construction of a new mosque poses a threat to that state's "moral and political foundation."
The planned mosque has been targeted by extremists who have made a number of bigoted comments about Islam and Muslims. Earlier this week, CAIR called on law enforcement authorities to investigate a second incident of vandalism at the mosque site as a possible hate crime.
SEE: CAIR Reacts to Mosque Sign Vandalism
Tenn. Mosque Targeted by Islamophobia (Video)
In May, CAIR offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator of a bomb attack on a Florida mosque.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi, 405-248-5853, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-OK Chair Michael Aziz Gipson, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com