Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota urged the Islamic community in Oklahoma to work to improve the community in which they live.
Speaking at a recent Islamic dinner in Oklahoma City, the congressman, who is the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, pointed out public needs such as providing health care for the uninsured and working to assist released prisoners re-enter society, and said that Muslims could assist in both of those fields.
Ellison said Muslims are a small percentage of the residents who live in his Congressional district, and that he could not have been elected if he had not reached out to people of other faiths. He reminded his audience of the parable of the Good Samaritan as an example of the need to provide assistance to those in need who are of a different faith.
The gathering also included several candidates for elective office who made presentations on behalf of their candidacies.
Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth and his opponent Dana Murphy both addressed the group. A variety of community and political leaders also were present, including several members of the Oklahoma legislature including Republican House member Shane Jett of Tecumseh and Democratic Sen. John Sparks of Norman.
Ellison pointed out that he addresses many Islamic groups throughout the nation, and said the Muslim community in Oklahoma was unique in the degree to which it has successfully reached out to people of other faiths.
The attendees also saw videos of young Muslims in Oklahoma who had interned in the offices of several office holders and media organizations, and they all spoke with enthusiasm about their experiences. A video presentation of the work done by Razi Hashmi of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council of American and Islamic Relations to encourage greater understanding of Islam in Oklahoma was shown to the audience as well. (MORE)