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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma (CAIR-OK) issued a quick response to a statement made by Oklahoma City candidate for mayor Carol Hefner in a debate Tuesday night when she called for Islam to be “eradicated.”

Adam Soltani
Adam Soltani, Executive Director, CAIR-Oklahoma (file, BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

“Muslims in Oklahoma are no strangers to attacks on our faith,” said CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani. “It pains Oklahoma Muslims deeply to hear these words in the largest city in our state and a place that Muslims call home.”

Free Press was one of the supporting partners in organizing and publicizing the debate. Here is our coverage of the event after it concluded:

The statement, issued in a press release Wednesday, was in response to extreme statements made by Carol Hefner during the debate. Hefner was responding to a question about other extreme statements she had made in the past.

In response to a question about divisive, extreme statements she had made against Muslims in the past, she said “that was a long time ago,” and recounted a family story of how her Christian relatives had been mistreated by Muslims in Lebanon, a place fraught with conflicts between Christians and Muslims since the Crusades centuries ago.

Carol Hefner
Carol Hefner, candidate for Mayor of the City of Oklahoma City. (BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

But, rather than being a call for reconciliation from the self-proclaimed Christian, Hefner ended her response by saying, “it’s [Islam] insipid, and it should be eradicated from our culture – from our world.”

“Unfortunately, it’s been here since the beginning of time,” continued Hefner.

In fact, the religion of Islam traces its beginnings to the 600s C.E. in the Middle East, around six centuries after the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth whom Christians believe was the Messiah or Christ.

“I don’t know how I’m going to personally get rid of it, but we do need to have those conversations,” Hefner continued.

Earlier she had said that she wanted to “sit down and have conversations” after agreeing that she had made harsh statements about Islam. However, it is unclear what kind of conversations and to what end she thinks those conversations should be.

Hefner also said, “It’s very important to me to have those healing conversations and offer grace back and forth.” She did not specify what kind of “grace” she would have to offer to Muslims and for what kind of perceived offenses.

Respect for Christianity

The CAIR-OK press release also issued a reminder that Islam has “a long respect for Christianity and it’s followers ….”

As the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, states: “Say: ‘We believe in God and the revelation given to us and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and it is to Him that we surrender ourselves.’” (2:136)

The statement goes on to argue that since Muslims believe that “God sent different messengers throughout time,” adherents to Islam in Oklahoma have been “an integral part of the growing interfaith community in Oklahoma City over the last two decades.”

CAIR-OK has worked with a broad spectrum of faiths to help welcome 1,800 Afghan refugees to Oklahoma for permanent settlement. Oklahoma was just one of many states that have taken in Afghans who believed that they had no future in Afghanistan after their participation in western forces’ war against the Taliban who have now taken control of the nation’s government once again.

“CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims,” that statement read in closing.

Offending remarks

This is a clip of the livestream of the debate where Hefner made the remarks about Islam:

Last Updated January 26, 2022, 5:38 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor