OKLAHOMA CITY — A state lawmaker strongly objected Monday to receiving a centennial copy of the Quran, compliments of the Governor’s Ethnic American Advisory Council.
Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs, wrote his fellow legislators that he is refusing a copy of the Quran because, “Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology.”
Marjaneh Seirafi-Pour, a Muslim and chairwoman of the governor’s council, said she received a call from Duncan wondering whether state money was used to buy the books.
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“Members of the Oklahoma Muslim community paid for copies of the Quran,” she said.
They include businessmen, doctors and professors, she added.
“We are not trying to force anything on anyone,” Seirafi-Pour said, ”This is a peaceful, thoughtful project to introduce ourselves to leaders.”
She estimated that there are 30,000 to 50,000 Muslims in Oklahoma.
Duncan, a lieutenant colonel in the Oklahoma National Guard, countered: “I know that not all Muslims are terrorists, but I don’t know of another religion or ideology that employs terrorism and the threat of terrorism.”
Seirafi-Pour said she has been in the United States for 24 years and is a citizen.
The chairwoman said her children had attended Norman public schools.
The woman applauded Oklahoma for being “very inclusive, very diverse,” and this is a way the Muslim community can thank the state during this centennial year.
This spring, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma distributed copies of a centennial Bible.
Duncan said he was pleased to receive the Bible.
“I don’t know any Christians who run around using the Bible as their basis of justification or instruction booklet to keep killing innocent people,” he said.
In an e-mail to legislators, Seirafi-Pour said, “The Holy Quran is the record of the exact words revealed by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad.”
Her communication noted that if people did not wish to receive a copy, they could let her know. She said that so far, she was aware of only Duncan’s refusal.