OKLAHOMA CITY – Packed into a crowded room in the National Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial Museum on Wednesday, attendees ate lunch and listened to the struggle of thousands of Oklahomans who fight Islamophobia every day.
“I think a lot of people just have not had the opportunity to have an open a dialogue on what Islam really is,” said the Council on American-Islamic Relation – Oklahoma (CAIR-OK) Executive Director Adam Soltani.
According to CAIR-OK, Fewer than 1 percent or 35,000 Oklahomans are Muslim but they experience daily acts of Islamophobia against them. During a PowerPoint presentation, the group also said 47 percent of Americans think Islam is at odds with American values and 25 percent believe Muslims make America a more dangerous place to live. But fewer than 40 percent of people said they knew a Muslim.
CAIR-OK, along with the Museum and the Oklahoma Center for Non-profits chose the museum to
“We are going to draw a parallel here at the museum to show people to that the best way to have peace and tranquility is to have dialogue and education
The role of Islam in terror attacks has been on the minds of many since the mass shooting in Orlando, something Muslims say sends the wrong message about their faith.
“We should really stop using the term Islam when we define criminals. Because the religion is against every act of violence, oppression and injustice,” Soltani said.
Most of the hate is sent to Muslims online. Many tweets or posts reference bombings and deporting Muslims, even those that are natural born Americans.
But for those that attended the workshop, the event was about re-writing that online conversation into one that brings people together instead of tearing them apart.