A local Islamic leader is encouraging metro-area Muslims not to be deterred and to continue with their Ramadan activities despite the presence of protesters who appeared at an Oklahoma City mosque Sunday.
“My beloved Okie Muslim community: we received confirmed reports of a group protesting at a mosque in the OKC metro area today. Reports have been made to the OKCPD and FBI,” Adam Soltani, executive director of CAIR-OK, said in a Sunday statement.
“We refuse to share their images of their videos as we don’t want to give their hate a platform that they so desperately seek. These individuals obviously showed up on the same day in which Ramadan begins to try and intimidate us but we won’t allow that to happen. We will show up to our mosques this Ramadan and we will exercise our right to worship freely. We won’t be deterred.”
Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, began at sunset Sunday. Ramadan is one of the five pillars, or obligations, of Islam. Many Muslims around the world abstain from food, drink and sensual pleasures from sunrise to sunset during the month, which commemorates the divine revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. Other aspects of the holy month include community service and charitable acts, along with communal prayers at local mosques.
On Sunday, a group of protesters from Arkansas stood outside the Grand Mosque of OKC, 3201 NW 48, and streamed the demonstrations live on Facebook. The demonstrators carried an American flag and a Christian flag and one of them dressed in a bacon costume and held a sign that said “Eat me,” a reference to the Islamic prohibition of pork.
Soltani said he felt the group’s intention was to intimidate and harass Muslims and he contacted the Oklahoma City Police Department and the FBI because he was not sure whether they had a history of violence. He said he released a statement to Oklahoma Muslims on Sunday to let them know about the incident.
Leaders with the Grand Mosque could not be reached for comment.