Addressing local Muslims at the Mercy Masjid at Friday prayers last week, Dr. Imad Enchassi, Imam of the Islamic Association of Greater Oklahoma City, told his listeners that as Muslims they could take pride in the actions of two people in Paris, France earlier this month.

The first was a police officer, Ahmed Merabet. He was a member of the Islamic faith who was gunned down by terrorists as they attacked the office of the magazine Charlie Hebdo. The other was the young Muslim employee of the Kosher bakery, Lassan Bathily, who at risk to himself helped hid several customers from the gunman who had taken other customers hostage.

Merabet’s bother was quoted as saying that his brother was a true Muslim in that he sought to protect innocent people from violence, and that those who killed him were false Muslims, and Enchassi expressed similar sentiments. Bathily, who is from the African nation of Mali, has been awarded French citizenship as a result of his brave action.

The Imam went on to address the issue of how Islam treats women. Muslims are prohibited from consuming alcohol and other intoxicants in part because substance abuse often results in domestic abuse, and male Muslims are required to treat their wives with respect and dignity. He spoke of how the Prophet Mohammed had frequently said to his male followers that the best of them where the ones who were treating their wives in the best way that they could.

In the Arabian Peninsula in the 6th Century it was commonplace to mourn the birth of a daughter, and that infant girls were often buried in the dessert. Enchassi said that the Prophet Mohammed stopped that practice and told his followers that they should rejoice when a daughter when was born. He quoted the Koran that spoke of how women have the right to inherit money from their parents and that Muslim women were receiving inheritances from their parent’s estates long before women in England had that right to receive such legacies. Women’s right to education is also set forth in the Koran, Enchassi said, and that those who attack girls who are going to school in Afghanistan are reflecting pagan traditions and attitudes.

Many of the best students in the Oklahoma City Muslim community are females, and the Imam pointed out that their success is a source of great pride to their families.

Females have the right to refuse a proposal of marriage, the Imam told those in attendance, but he conceded that some Muslim women have been forced into marriage. He spoke of how he refused to perform an Islamic marriage for a couple several years ago in Oklahoma City after he realized that the woman was being forced into the union.

Female genital mutilation is not sanctioned in Islam the Imam told his listeners. He said that most such mutilations take place in places in predominately Christian nations. The cleric spoke of how Muslim women in the Oklahoma City area include physicians, engineers, and businesswomen, and said that the money they earn is not the property of their husbands.

Enchassi ended his presentation by urging the men present to treasure their wives and daughters as the gifts from God that they are.