OKLAHOMA CITY — Muslims celebrated advocacy day on Monday without protesters yelling at them or holding signs in their faces as they entered the state Capitol.
It was a situation noted more than once during the Sixth Annual Muslim Day at the Capitol.
“Love and peace never give up, but hate will eventually be extinguished,” said Adam Soltani, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Oklahoma chapter.
Soltani said more than 150 people preregistered for the event. He noted a number of youth in attendance.
CAIR Oklahoma Board Chairman Tariq Sattar thanked members of the interfaith community who every year show up to provide escorts into the building. They carried signs reading “Welcome Muslims.”
On the first Muslim Day at the Capitol, attendees had to walk past dozens of protesters shouting “Allah is a pedophile” and “Mohammad is in hell.”
In 2015 and in subsequent years their interfaith partners lined up in front of the protesters to allow the attendees to enter the building mostly without harassment.
“We have zero demonstrators outside,” Imam Imad Enchassi told the crowd. “You can clap for that.”
Applause filled the second floor rotunda.
Enchassi told the Muslims in attendance to identify themselves and not to let others put labels on them or the Islamic religion.
“As citizens of Oklahoma, we must feel comfortable walking the halls of this building,” Sattar said.
He encouraged participants to stand up for their rights and engage with lawmakers on an individual basis.
The keynote session featured Norman Mayor Breea Clark and Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City.
Those attending met with lawmakers and learned about the legislative process.