(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 3/26/19) –- The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today called on public officials to repudiate Oklahoma County Assessor Larry Stein’s anti-Muslim social media posts and to condemn Islamophobic rhetoric in Oklahoma.
Although in recent posts he has expressed support for the victims of New Zealand massacre, Assessor Stein has still not addressed earlier posts that have raised concerns about Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bias.
“The Oklahoma Muslim community deserves a firm commitment to religious tolerance from our elected officials through actions and not just mere words,” said CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani. “Assessor Stein’s refusal to respond to multiple requests to meet with the Oklahoma Muslim community have sent a message that there is a lack of concern regarding his past hateful rhetoric.”
Comments of concern by Assessor Stein include a post reading, “No shirt, no shoes, no service. Which ISLAMIC halal restaurant can I go to and demand they cook a pig for me?”
Stein is also accused of allegedly calling for violence stating: “. . .’this [Islam] is a religion of peace’ is the biggest lie since ‘the check is in the mail’! [sic] It’s time to arm yourselves and be ready to protect you and your family. . .It’s time for Christians to demand a stop to immigration by Muslims. . .”
SEE: Islamophobic Social Media Posts Larry Stein
“Several of Assessor Stein’s social media posts were brought to our attention by members of the Oklahoma Muslim community,” said CAIR-OK Government Affairs Director Lani R. Habrock. “We reached out to Mr. Stein’s office multiple times over the past few months simply requesting a friendly meeting to discuss this issue and clear up any misunderstandings. However, he has continued to put us off and ignored this very serious issue – especially given recent events across the world, including arson at a Mosque in California, attacks at Mosques in London, and of course, the massacre that took place in New Zealand.”
Habrock added: “Oklahoma County hosts the largest Muslim population in the state. Whether he likes it or not, Muslims are his constituents.”
Larry Stein is not new to negative spotlight regarding controversial Facebook posts. In 2014, after the shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent protests demanding that his killer to be brought to justice, Stein received backlash for referring to the people of Ferguson as “thugs” and “animals.”
SEE: Oklahoma County Official Makes Controversial Facebook Post Regarding Ferguson Protests
“CAIR Oklahoma recognizes the value of free speech, but freedom of speech does not equal freedom from the consequences of propagating hateful rhetoric targeting minority communities,” said CAIR-OK Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure. “At a time of increasingly violent anti-Muslim bias incidents across the country, it is irresponsible and unethical for a public official to promote hate, fear, and misinformation.”
CAIR Oklahoma is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.