In a show of solidarity with the Muslim community, representatives of the Jewish Federation of Tulsa and several interfaith organizations held a press conference Friday condemning Oklahoma lawmakers who turned down a copy of the Quran.
Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs, refused a gift of Islam's holy book earlier this week, saying, "Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology." Other lawmakers joined him in refusing the gift, which was offered by the Governor's Ethnic American Advisory Council as part of the state's centennial celebration.
"Today, I'm an American Muslim, speaking for our brothers," said David Bernstein, executive director of the Jewish Federation.
"Hateful words inevitably lead to hateful actions," he said at the press conference held at the Al-Salaam Mosque, 4620 S. Irvington Ave.
"Sometimes they set in motion a chain of events that turn them into self-fulfilling prophesy."
He said hateful words often have an effect that the speaker did not desire or anticipate.
Oliver Howard, president of the Oklahoma Conference for Community and Justice, said religious intolerance has no place in Oklahoma.
"All religious communities have or have had zealots who exploit sacred scriptures for their own ends, including violent and inhumane acts," he said.
The Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, president of Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry Board of Trustees, said Duncan's words were disrespectful of his fellow Americans and promoted religious bigotry. (MORE)