Several Oklahoma City Muslim leaders said there has been an increase in phone calls and emails spewing anti-Muslim rhetoric since the Trump’s Administration’s recent ban on refugees from Muslim-majority countries.
However, they said the community-at-large has sent encouraging words of support that help to eclipse the negative sentiments.
“The outpouring of support has outweighed the hate a billion percent,” said Saad Mohammed, director of Islamic information for the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.
“We hope that love and unity will outweigh hate and division.”
Adam Soltani, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Oklahoma chapter, said anti-Muslim harassment typically increases when heated political debate involving Islam and Muslims increases.
“We’re seeing some very concerning threats to individuals and institutions and so we’re advising people to be very vigilant about their security and their safety to protect them and their families,” Soltani said Tuesday.
Mohammed said there has been a noticeable increase in negative emails and phone calls to the society’s mosque, 3815 St. Clair Ave., since President Trump signed an executive order on Friday banning refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
He said most of the messages spouted rhetoric like “Muslims leave the country!” or “Leave America, go home.”
The Muslim leader said American Muslims consider the U.S. their home.
“Muslims have contributed a lot to the American way of life. A lot of us were born and raised here. This is our home,” Mohammed said. “For those who have come from overseas, they came to America to establish a better life than what they had in their countries. They’ve married; they have kids. This is their home.”
Meanwhile, Sheryl Siddiqui, spokeswoman for the Islamic Council of Oklahoma, said she and some other Muslim leaders across the state have been pleasantly surprised by what she called an outpouring of support from non-Muslim Oklahomans since the refugee ban was imposed.
“I’ve had reports of people driving by some mosques and saying ‘Hi, we’re with you,’ and we’ve all been getting tons and tons of letters and cards of encouragement,” Siddiqui said.
She said a mosque in Stillwater said a friendly non-Muslim resident recently dropped off sweet treats to show support for the Muslim community. Siddiqui said a woman recently stopped by the the Islamic Society of Tulsa’s mosque with a poster that expressed her support for the Muslim community and she was invited in, given a tour and refreshments.
“I’m happy to be the bearer of good news. We’ve never seen such a positive outpouring of goodwill,” she said.