Each year, CAIR Oklahoma (CAIR-OK) develops policy priorities to advance key issues and promote civic engagement among Oklahoma Muslims. The priorities are informed by research, community interest, and CAIR-OK’s mission, and is approved by our Board of Directors.
If you have any feedback regarding our policy priorities or would like to get more involved in CAIR-OK’s government affairs advocacy, please contact Lani Habrock at email@example.com.
Why it’s important: The strength of American democracy begins and ends at the ballot. The ability for all citizens to have a voice in voting, regardless of class, gender, religion or ethnicity is foundational to the establishment of justice and liberty for all
- Voting access to marginalized and disenfranchised populations
- Efforts to re-enfranchise Americans who have been locked out of the process
- Setting standards to ensure all polling places have sufficient voting machines, poll workers, and other resources to avoid long lines
- Updating antiquated registration and voting systems
- Automatic voter registration
- Expanding early and online voting opportunities
- Making voting more accessible to working class individuals
- Automatic voter registration
- Voter suppression and unnecessary barriers to the ballot box
Why it’s important: Discrimination is not simply a matter of the heart. Discrimination is found concretely in systemic practices of shaming or practicing unjust treatment of individuals or groups, based on economic status, age, sexual orientation or identification, religious, ethnic, or cultural identification. Dismantling these constructs is necessary in the pursuit of equity. As a civil rights organization we recognize a violation of the rights of any person based on any of these factors impacts the rights of all people, including those belonging to the Muslim community.
- Ending systemic practices of shaming individuals or groups, based on economic status, age, sexual orientation or identification, religious, ethnic, or cultural identification
- The expansion of protected classes to include; Sexual Orientation, Gender and Gender Identity, Age, Citizenship Status, Economic Status, or association with a person or group with one of these perceived or actual characteristics
- Increasing data collection and reporting of hate crimes and bias-based offenses
- Political affiliations or occupationally based associations to be included into the framework of a protected class
- The shaming of individuals based on economic status; such as in the denial of school lunches to children or the enforcement of punishment for students who have incurred school debts
Why it’s important: Every ten years, at the conclusion of data collection from the census, Oklahoma politicians get the opportunity to redraw their own districts. This means politicians have the power to choose their voters, taking away our voice as citizens, and leaving us without the ability to hold them accountable. Our elected leaders must be representative of all Oklahomans, not just the ones they pick and choose.
- Equal and fair representation for all citizens
- The establishment of a citizen-led, independent commission to determine all redistricting decisions, to be comprised of representatives from all parties, as well as nonpartisan individuals.
- Gerrymandering, or the manipulation of electoral boundaries in order to favor one party or class
Why it’s important: America is a nation of immigrants. It is important to remember the humanity and maintain the dignity of each person regardless their place on the path toward citizenship.
- Laws that uphold human dignity
- Cultural and integration services for refugees
- Funding services intended to integrate refugee populations into the workforce
- Addressing barriers in occupational licensing for immigrants with work authorization and increasing access to English education
- Any legislation or policy which restricts access to basic services to immigrant communities
- Legislation intended to create barriers to employment, citizenship or cultural integration for refugees and immigrant communities
Why it’s important: At its heart, CAIR Oklahoma is a civil rights organization, fighting day to day to ensure the rights of Oklahoma Muslims and all minority and disenfranchised communities in our state. Unless we are all free, none of us are.
- First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, religion, and press
- The right to petition government for redress and to assemble at the state Capitol
- The rights of citizens to have a fair, open, and transparent government process
- The right of all people to live free from harassment, discrimination, and bigotry
- The rights of citizens to a healthy and equitable standard of living through access to social welfare programs, healthcare, fair wages, and safe housing
- The appropriation of state funds, or tax exemption benefits to agencies, organizations, private businesses that discriminate
- Reducing state standards that protect vulnerable people from harassment and discrimination in housing, the workplace, while incarcerated, etc…
- Infringements upon the human rights to housing, food, and healthcare
- Infringements upon First Amendment freedoms, including freedom of speech, religion, press, and assembly
- Attempts to obscure the functions of state government from public access and inspection.
Why it’s important: Gun violence is unnecessary and preventable. It is possible and crucial for our country and state to have nuanced conversation around the 2nd Amendment. We believe we can have both the right to gun ownership AND keep our children and families safe.
- Common sense and responsible gun ownership, not to be infringed upon by racial or ethnic profiling or the discriminatory enforcement of regulations
- The ability for law enforcement, victims of violent crimes, or concerned individuals to petition the court to temporarily restrict a person’s access to firearms on a showing of credible evidence that the person is a threat to themselves or to others
- Preventative measures to stop gun violence before it happens, subject to individual rights to due process
- Background checks on firearm purchases from all vendors, regardless of if firearm is purchased from an agency or an individual.
- The carrying of firearms by unlicensed individuals in schools, playgrounds, and government buildings
- The unconstitutional infringement upon the right to own or carry firearms based on discriminatory reasons and without individual due process
- Open and permitless carry
Why it’s important: Oklahoma leads the world in incarceration. Those imprisoned in our state are disproportionately women, Native American and Indigenous populations and Black males. Many of these offenders are not a danger to society, rather members of underserved and economically impoverished communities, sitting in jail for fines they cannot pay. The justice system is meant to improve public safety, not to serve as an impetus for debtor’s prisons.
- Bail reform. Bail was established to encourage the accused to return to court, rather than to serve as an impetus for keeping them in jail. Individuals who are a danger to society should not receive bail. Those who are not a danger, should be given a set bail in which they can afford
- Reforms to policing policies that unfairly target Oklahoma’s most marginalized communities, including more training on implicit biases and responsible crisis intervention services
- Reduce pre-trial detainment time
- Amend pre-trial practices to protect the rights of the accused and decrease the number of people jailed for financial reasons
- Reform sentencing procedures to protect the rights of defendants
- Reducing the overall population of Oklahoma’s abysmally high prison system
- Increasing rehabilitative and divergence programming available to those accused of non-violent crimes, particularly those associated with mental illness, substance addiction, and/or ongoing trauma
- Private jails which make money off of the suffering of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable communities
- Attempts to subvert the will of the voters through weakening the provisions of State Question 788 and other criminal justice reforms that passed through initiative petition
- Formulaic, inflexible sentencing structures which leave few opportunities for rehabilitative or restorative justice programs, such as, 3 strikes laws, mandatory minimums, etc…