By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – On Thursday, March 2, the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) will host its 3rd annual “Oklahoma Muslim Day at the Capitol.” The morning sessions will be held at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 222 NW 15th Street, in Oklahoma City. Participant check in and breakfast will be from 8 – 9 a.m. followed by workshops and panel discussions. Additional events will take place that afternoon at the state Capitol.
The first workshop titled “Failing Grades: The Deepening Crisis of Public Education” will seek to answer the following questions: What is the state of education in Oklahoma in 2017? What steps are being taken to find solutions and what solutions have already been proposed?
Workshop 2A, titled “Khalid Jabara: An Intersectional Approach to Strengthening Hate Crime Law” will address the case of the tragic hate crime that resulted in the death of Khalid Jabara in 2016. Legal scholars and activists will discuss their experiences working in communities under threat, and the strengths and weaknesses of state and federal hate crime law.
Additional workshops will cover topics such as Minorities in Leadership, the First Amendment, and the roll of Muslim Millennials in Government and Advocacy.
At 12 noon, lunch participants will hear from keynote speaker Rep. Scott Inman.
The afternoon portion of the Muslim Day at the Capitol will begin with Muslim (Zuhr) prayers at 1 p.m. on the Capitol’s 4th Floor Rotunda followed by a citation presentation from Rep. Jason Dunnington.
Additional speakers will feature elected officials, faith leaders and community partners from across the state, including Rep. Cyndi Munson, Councilman Ed Shadid, and former Rep. Ryan Kiesel.
According to organizers, Muslims and their supporters from across the state will take part in a day of education, engagement and advocacy at a time when their faith and community are being targeted by public figures who are promoting unconstitutional and discriminatory legislation and policies.
“Our goal is to connect Oklahoma Muslims with their elected leaders and the legislative process. From the budget crisis to anti-Muslim discrimination, the actions of the legislature directly impact the Muslim community in Oklahoma on a daily basis,” said CAIR-OK Government Affairs Director Anna Facci. “This is an opportunity for Muslims and other Oklahomans to urge lawmakers to support people of all faiths.”
At 1:30 p.m., Ms. Facci will provide advocacy instructions to participants who will be meeting with Legislators from 2 – 3 p.m.
Iman Imad Enchassi, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City (ISGOC) will give closing remarks at 3:15 p.m. in the 4th floor rotunda.
On Saturday, April 1, CAIR-OK will hold its 11th annual Awards Banquet at the Embassy Suites at the Oklahoma City Downtown Medical Center. The banquet, themed “Advancing Justice, Challenging Hate,” will be hosted by Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson, an Oklahoma native and the founder and executive director of Black Lives Matter Oklahoma.
The dinner will feature author, international human rights lawyer, and global media commentator Arsalan Iftikhar as keynote speaker. Additional presenters include motivational speaker Hassan Shibl, executive director of CAIR-Florida and comedian Amer Zahr
Banquet registration is now available online.
CAIR is 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, visit www.cairoklahoma.com