There was extra security at the State Capitol for Muslim Day on Friday.
Organizers were worried about participants’ safety after threats and hateful comments started circulating in protest of the event.
Oklahoma Muslim Day was started to give the Muslim community a chance to engage with local government and to push for equality.
Dozens gathered outside the State Capitol, including many supporters from the interfaith community.
“There’s people here that are Christian. There’s people here that are Jewish. There’s people here who are Buddhist, nondenominational,” said Kris Ladusau, Buddhist Dharma Center.
People said they hope for unity and to exercise their right to freedom of speech and religion.
Protesters also showed up.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troopers stood by to make sure these demonstrations were peaceful.
Members of the Muslim community made their way inside the State Capitol.
“To learn more about the democratic process, to engage with our elected leaders and to really lay down the foundation for further civic engagement from the Muslim community,” said Adam Soltani, executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Oklahoma.
Through education, they said they hope some barriers and stereotypes will break down.
“I think some people are afraid to accept diversity, and that’s why we have a problem right now in our society while people try to propagate hatred toward Islamic Muslims, but I think the key is to embrace it,” Soltani said.
“When you meet somebody and get to know them personally, inevitably, a lot of stereotypes fall away, a lot of misconceptions,” said Sen. John Sparks, District 16.
Acceptance and change some hope to see in our state.
“Meet a Muslim. Go look at a Muslim. Go visit the mosque. Visit the Muslim community,” said Dr. Imad Enchassi, Senior Imam at Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.
Hundreds turned out for the event.
There were multiple workshops focused on public education, civic engagement and learning about the separation of church and state.
The day ended with a prayer service.