OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – People involved in local Afghan and Muslim communities and beyond spoke to KFOR Wednesday to express their concerns amid the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, while the governor released a statement of his own on the matter.
The statement from Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office Wednesday was about refugees fleeing the country of Afghanistan and coming to Oklahoma. The full statement can be read below:
“Governor Stitt welcomes Afghans fleeing the terrorist Taliban regime to come to Oklahoma and live in the freedom we hold so dearly. Our office is exploring every possible avenue to help to ensure no American citizen nor any of our allies are left behind.”
OKLAHOMA GOVERNOR’S OFFICE
The statement comes as people flee in fear of gunshots with the Taliban moving quickly throughout the country. The scary situation is only intensifying leaving local Afghani and Muslim communities worried.
“We feel the pain of our Muslim brothers and sisters and what they’re going through as their country starts to fall apart,” said Adam Soltani, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Oklahoma, a civil rights and social justice advocacy group.
“Have a heart and understand that this could be us, this could be somebody you know it could be a relative,” said Cathy Cruzan, the president of Funds for Learning, who has mentored Afghani and Rwandan women.
The U.S. is scrambling amid a full evacuation of citizens out of the country. Videos have shown people running next to and even hanging onto planes hoping for an escape. One man KFOR spoke to said he knows that feeling all too well. He took a similar path while escaping a Lebanon massacre in 1982.
“Trust me, when you’re on that plane, there are many mixed feelings,” said Dr. Imad Enchassi.
Enchassi lives here in Oklahoma now. However, he said he knows people overseas struggling to survive amid the Taliban takeover.
“People do not leave their homeland lightly,” Enchassi said. “But when violence and havoc and fear is on your plate every single day, you just make a run to it.”
As several refugees try to head to the U.S., Cruzan said she has mentored women from overseas as part of the Institute for the Economic Empowerment of Women. She specifically mentored Afghani and Rwandan women. Those women even lived in her home with her at one point.
“I look at them and I see them as my friends and I see what they’ve accomplished,” Cruzan said. “I know that they love their country, and they love their families and they just want to work and contribute.”
All of them said they hoped for peace, safety and open arms for those fleeing Afghanistan.
Enchassi says several groups here are prepared to give guidance to any refugees coming to Oklahoma.