Muslim supporters listen to Razi Hashmi, Director
of Oklahoma CAIR,at Church of the Open Arms
in Oklahoma City on Wednesday
Just days before the 9th anniversary of 9-11, a diverse group of Oklahoma City religious and community leaders announce their support of Muslims.
During a gathering Wednesday at the Church of the Open Arms in Oklahoma City, they denounced a Florida preacher's plans to burn the Islamic holy book, the Quran, on Sept. 11.
"If there are American citizens who want to attack one of our faith traditions, I guess they have the freedom to do that," said Sen. Andrew Rice, R-Oklahoma City, who lost a brother in the September 11, 2001, attacks, "but it goes diametrically opposed to the basic tenets of the Constitution. They can't call themselves patriots. You can't (tell) yourself this is about American freedom. It's trying to create sort of a Saudia Arabia in America."
Church of the Open Arms Pastor Kathy McCallie read from the Quran.
Mainstream Baptist minister Bruce Prescott said the rhetoric of "belligerant" Christians incites violence against Muslims and doesn't reflect the teachings of Jesus.
Razi Hashmi, director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Director, said the United States is undergoing an intense period of "Islamophobia".
"It's really important that we engage one another in dialogue and not rely upon blogs and a lot of the pundits in the media when it comes to talking about people's faiths," Hashmi said.