A town hall meeting on Islam will attract several nationally renowned speakers to an Edmond church Monday.
The event will be at the Fairview Baptist Church and speakers include: Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy and former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration; Clare Lopez, former CIA operations officer; and Paul Blair, a Baptist minister who has published several materials on Islam and the Constitution.
State representatives John Bennett and Dan Fisher, both Republicans, will co-host the town hall meeting.
The beheading of Colleen Hufford in late September at Vaughan Foods in Moore was the catalyst for Monday’s town hall.
Alton Nolen, who was fired before the alleged attack, was charged with the crime and Blair told KOCO he feels Nolen’s recent conversion to Islam should not be overlooked.
“Obviously that’s something people are wanting to find out some things about and quite frankly, they’re not buying the excuse that it’s workplace violence,” Blair said.
A representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told KOCO they feel Monday’s town hall will only spread “Islamophobia.”
“I think tomorrow’s event is more about spreading hate and fear among the people of Oklahoma,” Saad Mohammed said. “They do not have any real information about Islam or Muslims. A lot of it – most of it, all of it – is false rhetoric and lies or hatred geared toward Islam, and I think it’s sad. I think it’s an embarrassment on their part, that they would take advantage of such a bad situation to spread their hate.”
Blair’s speech will be centered on his research into Islam’s prophet Mohammed.
“The last 10 years of his life, when he had absolute power, it was submit or die — there was no such thing as tolerance,” Blair said. “Everywhere we look in the Middle East that is run by an Islamist country — an Islamist government — there is no tolerance. There is no existence. There are no rights for women, homosexuals are stoned, [and] Christians are crucified. That is what we see practiced in Muslim counties in the Middle East. I have a tendency to believe that’s probably what pure Islam is.”
CAIR’s Mohammed disagrees.
“The prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, didn’t teach any acts of terrorism or violence — he taught the exact opposite,” Mohammed said. “The only time there was an act of aggression or anything from the Muslims during his time was in the response of self-defense.”
Blair said Muslims are welcome to attend the town hall meeting; however, no audience member of any religious background will be allowed to ask questions or argue. Those hoping to ask questions can participate via Twitter. The town hall will be broadcast live at www.ra4c.org.
The town hall will be between 7:30 and 9 p.m. Monday at the Fairview Baptist Church, 1230 N. Sooner Rd., Edmond. Seating will be available for the first 300 people.