Protest planned for OU Muslim event
A newly formed activist group plans to protest an Islamic group’s campus involvement at OU Saturday.
The recently formed group, called Oklahomans Against CAIR Hate, said the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is linked to terrorist activities overseas. The group wants to expose CAIR for what they see as a sponsor of terrorism, especially on the OU campus.
“CAIR tries to portray itself as an innocuous civil rights organization, but it is not," Cindy Crenshaw, Oklahomans Against CAIR Hate president, stated on the group’s Web site. "CAIR leaders have been sentenced to 65 years in prison for terrorist related activities; CAIR received funds from a bogus ‘charity’ called the Holy Land Foundation which funneled money to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas; the FBI cut off relations with CAIR late in 2008 out of concerns for CAIR’s terrorist connections; and CAIR is regarded as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League, a nearly 100-year-old respected institution dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of proof of CAIR’s terrorist connections.
“As a veteran, a mother and a survivor of a terrorist attack, I call upon Oklahomans of all faiths, all political persuasions and all walks of life, especially those in the news media, to speak the truth about CAIR as a group with connections, and to join us Saturday night to protest CAIR’s planned event at OU.”
However, Roberta Clark, associate regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, told The Daily in an e-mail her organization does not consider CAIR as a hate group.
Ahmad Khattab, president of the OU Muslim Student Association, said the protesters do not understand what CAIR is and what it does.
“We’ve worked with CAIR for many years, and they’ve been very helpful in improving the image of Islam and Muslims in America,” Khattab said. “When these people come on campus to protest CAIR, I feel they are attacking me personally.”
Khattab said the group’s accusations against CAIR do more harm than good.
“By them coming to campus and shouting out stereotypes, they are promoting ignorance,” Khattab said. “It is that negative stereotyping, ignorance and bias that they will show that makes life hard for many Muslim Americans in this country every day. CAIR really does do positive things, and by throwing out rumors and false accusations, they are showing that they are just here to be hateful.”
The protest is scheduled to take place at the Oklahoma Memorial Union at 7 p.m. Saturday, but language on the Web site suggests the group will try to disrupt the CAIR sponsored event in Meachum Auditorium that evening. The CAIR event will feature a film called “Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Think.”
“I was planning on attending the event, and I hope that instead of disrupting the event and being rude, they would be willing to sit down and talk about our differences and clear some things up,” Khattab said. “I think that if they would talk about their concerns and questions with us, there would be a better understanding of the truth.”