OKLA. CITY —
The Muslim community of central Oklahoma recently came together to celebrate the holiday of Eid, which commemorates the end of the holy month of Ramadan in which Muslims cannot eat or drink during the daylight hours. Imam Imad Enchassi of the Islamic Association of Central Oklahoma led prayers at the mosque affiliated with that organization, and spoke of how the biblical prophets of Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Mohammed and Jesus put their faith in God, and urged those present to trust in God as well.
Enchassi also referenced the paint balls that had been sprayed on another Oklahoma City mosque several days earlier, but pointed out that the event had prompted people of other faiths to appear outside of both mosques that morning holding signs that expressed their support and acceptance of the Muslim community.
He later spoke about how the Muslims of Oklahoma are proud to be part of the state, and are having a positive impact on the state as physicians, engineers, academics and businesspeople, and that they are grateful for the opportunities that have been afforded them here.
After the morning prayers concluded, people gathered on the grounds of the mosque in a festive manner under a gray sky, and the few non-Muslims who were present were made to feel welcome and were thanked for sharing in the holiday. Warm greetings were extended to friends and family members, and many group photos were taken. Some people offered hot tea and homemade sweets from the trunks of their cars in a manner that was similar to the tailgating that takes place at football games at Oklahoma’s universities.
The diversity of the Muslim community of Oklahoma was apparent, and the attendees included African men and women in brightly colored robes, physicians and other professionals from the Middle East and India and Pakistan in business suits and starched white shirts, and Moroccans and others from North Africa who wore white robes.
Many of the children present wore the same type of attire as their parents and seemed proud to participate in the holiday. Several young girls made their way through the crowd with plates of cookies and pastries that were offered to the attendees.
Some of the college-age and younger males in attendance were clad in Ralph Lauren and Izod shirts that served as a reminder of the relative affluence of the state’s Muslim community, as did their conversations regarding medical and graduate school curriculums and admissions. Some of the young attendees explained that they initially came to Oklahoma as college students, and after graduating they obtained employment with companies located here that allowed them to become lawful residents of the U.S.
At midday a meal was served in the mosque that consisted of spicy Indian and Pakistani and the guests took off their shoes in accordance with Muslim tradition before they ate.
WILLIAM F. O’BRIEN is an Oklahoma City attorney.