Enough with the Islamophobia, Oklahoma!' 

This is in response to the April 29 Oklahoma Gazette Commentary articles (Bob Gresham's "Point: Christians and Muslims in Oklahoma" and the Rev. Paul Blair's "Counterpoint: 'Proclaiming truth is not hateful'").

The ridiculousness that I hear and see here in Oklahoma against Muslims is appalling. Paul Blair states that Islam is against the Constitution. The Constitution is a body of laws that a group of oppressed persons originating from England handpicked and chose what liberties they wanted. They did not look to the Scripture for guidance. How can that be a fair and just mix of factors to compare?

Our Prophet Muhammad has stated: "Religion is very easy, and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded." Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Hadith 38.

The first step in solidifying, uniting and advancing a community is to promote tolerance. That is what true Islam is about. The ability to love, forgive and to treat others with the best intentions as possible " that is what I was taught as a Muslim. My family comes from Karachi, Pakistan. I am a first-generation Pakistani-American. My parents were married in a small church " not a mosque " in a small town outside of Boston. I have several relatives who are of the Christian faith. I have a cousin-in-law who is Hindu. My best friend is Hindu.

During the 1967 Partition/ Independence War between Pakistan and (what is now) India, my grandmother helped her Hindu and Christian neighbors escape the genocide and hid them in her cellar for weeks on end. Her actions are what a true Muslim embodies as his/her faith: selflessness, compassion, sincerity; the notion of tolerance, peace, love " the foundational pillars of Islam " is what my Muslim family, and many other Muslim families, stand for. And it is very unfortunate that the radicals of Islam are destroying this for practicing Muslims. And to add on, the actions of Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ are hurting this society in understanding the true Islam.

Rev. Blair, I just don't see how my go-to-mosque-every-Friday but also head-of-the-neighborhood-association parents threaten the American Constitution. With all due respect, don't you know that there are background stories for each and every verse? That there is usually more to those verses but that they are conveniently left out by the media?

Look back to history, folks. This isn't the first time a group of radicals has taken over a religion for their own power, benefit and manipulation.

Enough with the Islamophobia, Oklahoma! You need to come to the realization that the old mind-set can no longer be present if you want to progress and press forward into the plethora of potential that is stemming toward you. I leave you all with that which is within the American consciousness: "In God We Trust" (Quran 7: 89).

"Sarah Balaparya

Balaparya, a third-year law student at Oklahoma City University, is a candidate for juris doctor at the OCU School of Law.

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Sarah Balaparya

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