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CAIR annual banquet focuses on theme “Upholding our Constitution, Defending our Faith”

Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director ACLU of Oklahoma
Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director ACLU of Oklahoma

Darla Shelden


CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) Oklahoma will host its 7th Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, April 13, which will take place at the Oklahoma City Marriott, 3233 NW Expressway.

The event will be held to “honor the organization’s inspirational heroes, reflect on their past year’s endeavors, and embrace a promising future.”

A reception begins at 5 p.m., with the dinner and program at 6 p.m.  Tickets are $40 per person, $20 for students.

“When we first founded CAIR Oklahoma in 2006, we never envisioned that in seven years we would be at the forefront of civil rights issues in the state of Oklahoma,” said Adam Soltani, executive director of CAIR Oklahoma, “We are looking forward to sharing the accomplishments of the last year with our guests and to outline some exciting plans for our future.”

The event will feature keynote speaker Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, Outreach Director, Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, VA; Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director ACLU of Oklahoma; and Imam Imad Enchassi of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.

The speakers will focus on this year’s theme, “Upholding our Constitution: Defending our Faith.”

Abdul-Malik has recently returned from a one-week trip to Morocco to learn more about its people and the process of the Moroccan “Arab Spring” or Jasmine Revolution.

The first Muslim Chaplain installed at Howard University, Abdul-Malik is the former chair of Government Relations for the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) and is the founding President of the Muslim Society of Washington, DC Inc.

Ryan Kiesel served three terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 2004-2010. During that time, Kiesel held various leadership roles and often led the fight against efforts to curb reproductive rights and restrain civil liberties.

Prior to joining the ACLU of Oklahoma’s staff, Kiesel was in private practice with a law firm in Oklahoma City. He teaches a seminar, Politics and the Law, as an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma College of law. Ryan continues to write and speak on a range of political and legal issues, and has been cited by local and national media outlets.

Motivational speaker Dr. Imad Enchassi is founder and Executive Director of the Mercy Education Foundation. He is the first Muslim to provide invocations at both the Oklahoma State Capitol, and before the Mayor and the OKC City Council. Enchassi has served the Interfaith communities for more than two decades.

Offering a different perspective on everyday life, comedian and actor Omar Regan will provide the evening’s entertainment. His mission statement is an acronym of his last name, REGAN – Reflect Excellence, Gratitude and Nur (Light).

“The work that CAIR Oklahoma does in the coming years will be crucial to fostering a culture where the promotion of successful interfaith dialogue and civil liberties advocacy is of the utmost importance,” said Soltani.

Each year, CAIR Oklahoma honors individuals who have served in the Oklahoma community. Those who have taken courageous stances for the rights of Oklahomans, and have worked to make Oklahoma a better place to live.

This year’s recipient of the Building Bridges Interfaith Leadership Award is The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches.

In addition, the Faith in Action Youth Leadership Award will be given to Abdurrahman Kabani, a graduate from the Dove Science Academy in Tulsa.

“Our 7th Annual Awards banquet is a time to celebrate our accomplishments of the last year, to focus on the challenges still ahead, and honor the work of courageous individuals that have led our communities,” Soltani said. “Those who have inspired us to be better Oklahomans, and worked to build bridges of understanding with others from different backgrounds.”

Established in 2006, CAIR-Oklahoma is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

For more information contact CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani, 405-248-5853, [email protected] or visit

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