What: "Denouncing Violence in the Name of God: The Case of Islam.”
Who: Institute of Interfaith Dialog and community partners.
When: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. April 5.
Where: Oklahoma City University, Freede Center, NW 27 and Florida.
Cost: Free. Lunch provided.
The relationship between religion and terrorism will be the focus of a conference set for April 5 at Oklahoma City University.
The conference "Denouncing Violence in the Name of God: The Case of Islam” is being hosted by the Institute of Interfaith Dialog, the Wimberly School of Religion at OCU, the University of Oklahoma Department of Religious Studies, the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City and Mainstream Baptists.
Orhan Osmun is Oklahoma City coordinator of the Institute of Interfaith Dialog, a Houston-based nonprofit organization that works to bring together faith communities through interfaith dialogue. He said the conference is in keeping with the institute's mission to bring people of diverse faiths together for greater understanding.
Osmun said organizers chose Oklahoma City because of its terrorism experience with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. He said in the days after the bombing, rumors circulated that the tragedy was perpetrated by terrorists tied to Islam.
Conference organizers said the event will encourage people to search for religious information from authentic sources instead of myths and rumors.
Osmun, who is Muslim, said he and others who share his faith beliefs often hear the question "Why don't Muslims denounce the violence of (Muslim) terrorists?”
"Well, we are always doing that, but the public doesn't ever hear it,” he said. "There are minor groups in some countries doing wrong in the name of God, but unfortunately people accept them as a model of Muslims.”
Razi Hashmi, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations Oklahoma chapter, said the conference is one way that Muslims who denounce the violence being wrought in the name of Islam can be heard.
"I think it's very important that we make the statement clear,” he said.