While living in California, Lobna Hewedi worked as an office manager for a chapter of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.

She moved to Oklahoma in late 2005 to get married, and after becoming involved in the community, she started forming a state chapter of the Muslim civil liberties organization.

The chapter was approved by the national organization known as CAIR earlier this year and was launched with a sold-out fundraising dinner in May.

The state chapter is in the process of hiring a full-time executive director. After the executive director is hired, CAIR-OK plans to open an office in Oklahoma City. The staff may be expanded later.

“The executive director will recruit members,” she said. “Right now we are working on a volunteer basis.”

CAIR has 32 other chapters in the U.S. and Canada.

“We will work hand-in-hand with people of other faiths to build a more solid foundation of interfaith relations in our state,” said Hewedi, CAIR-OK chairwoman.

CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. The group supports free enterprise, freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

“We want to promote a positive image of Islam and promote civil rights for all Americans regardless of their faith,” Hewedi said.

She said CAIR-OK will also work with local law enforcement agencies, educational institutions and houses of worship to foster mutual understanding and tolerance.


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