Diana West on the Islamicizing of Oklahoma

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In the Washington Times, columnist Diana West considers the press reaction to the
decision by a growing number of legislators not to accept a Koran from the Governor's Ethnic American Advisory Council (GEAAC):

Of course, it's the rejection of the Korans that's making headlines, not their state-sealed if privately funded distribution. No one asks what the Koran has to do with Oklahoma's centennial, for Pete's sake; or why a government organization is proselytizing about "the exact words" of Allah; or how those words in that book sound to non-Muslims leery of Islam's age-old message to convert, submit or die. In our weird world, it's not the Islamic message that's branded hateful or even insensitive; it's the person who rejects it. This is the technique that usually shuts people up.

In digging into the GEAAC, West covers much of the same ground I did (see "GEAAC is back" (from last week) and "Is there only one kind of Ethnic American in Oklahoma?" (from May), but West also found this in the Islamic Society of Tulsa's October newsletter -- the quote is on page 9, but the story that contains it begins at the bottom of the front page.

Meanwhile, local Muslim advocates display utter bewilderment that anyone could construe Islam as anything but "very peaceful, very inclusive." To enlighten them, someone might bring up the key Koranic concept of jihad, or maybe ask a Muslim "apostate" in fear of his safety for leaving Islam, or a persecuted Christian or Jew in fear of his safety living under Islam, to explain.

Or, to keep things local, someone might ask Allison Moore, an Oklahoma Muslim quoted in recent stories, for elaboration. Why? Ms. Moore works on a newsletter published by the Tulsa Islamic Center. I downloaded the October issue and read an article that compares consorting with lax Muslims, ex-Muslims and non-Muslims -- "people of religious innovation and misguidance, those who abandon the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and advocate other beliefs" -- to nothing short of "doom itself" and "taking poison."

The article continues: "A man with any intellect should not sit in their assemblies nor mix with them. The result of doing so will either be the death of his heart, or, at the very best, its falling seriously ill." This is... how shall I put it?... not very inclusive.

Meanwhile, Chris Medlock is exposing the distortions in the way the media has been covering what State Rep. Rex Duncan said and did regarding the Commemorative Centennial Koran and the way they haven't been covering Rex Duncan's background.

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My editorial response was posted in the Washington Post in Nov. 2007
I was deeply disappointed in the shoddy journalism exhibited in your article titled “The Islamicizing of Oklahoma.” To begin Diane, let’s get the facts straight.

As part of the Oklahoma Centennial celebrations various groups decided to hand out state sealed gifts. Bibles were handed out to all representatives with the state seal. The Governor’s Ethnic Advisory Council, which happens to have individuals of Native American as well as European descent on it, thought it would be equally nice to hand out Qur’ans to those who wished to accept a gift.

Oklahoma Muslims were not at all offended by Representative Rex Duncan’s decline of a Qur’an. But we were deeply troubled by his statement that he would not support an ideology “that promotes the killing of women and children.”

Your attempts to criticize the local mosque newsletter was so far fetched it was absurd. The article is about improving one’s personal relationship with God and avoiding individuals that do not help one grow spiritually.

All this week we have listened to the rantings of closed minded Americans who think this is a “Christian Nation.” Every time I hear that phrase I shuddered and feel the pain of our Native American peoples who would strongly disagree. Preaching the superiority of one particular race, group or religion in this country is not only ignorant but also unfounded.

As a nation, we need to wake up and realize that as we move towards a global economy, and highly diversified coutnry, we should instead focus on building bridges of tolerance, celebrating our diversity, and finding strength and beauty in the cornucopia of its peoples. Diane, let’s stop-creating divisions within this great Democratic nation and start building bridges peace. We are after all, ONE NATION!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 28, 2007 2:32 AM.

Wisdom and Eloquence (and me, too) at the Renaissance was the previous entry in this blog.

Ethnic American Advisory Council should reflect ethnic diversity, Reynolds says is the next entry in this blog.

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