As a first Muslim leader to offer prayer on the Oklahoma Senate Floor, a senior imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma used the occasion to send a message of community, tolerance, and love.
“We are so much in love with Lady Liberty,” Imam Imad Enchassi said, Tulsa World reported.
“We’re so much in love with our state. We’re so much in love with our city. And, it was devastating that love was not reciprocated at least by some elected officials.”
As a guest of Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, Enchassi’s message was one of unity and inclusion.
The nearly five-minute prayer Enchassi was written four years ago when he anticipated leading the OK House in prayer.
He prayed for a nation of peace with no atrocities, no brutality, no murder and no “horrors for the eyes to see and the hearts to bleed.”
“And grant us a world with no genocide and no massacres,” he said. “Heal our land, Lord, from the coronavirus and every illness and disease.”
In 2018, Enchassi was nominated to serve as House chaplain, but the lower chamber’s chaplain coordinator turned down the request.
“Today marks a culmination of much of the efforts we have put forth in ensuring that the Oklahoma Muslim community is fully represented in all facets of our local government,” said Council on American Islamic Relations Oklahoma Chapter Executive Director Adam Soltani.
“Much of the modern history of Oklahoma Muslims and the state Legislature is tainted by Islamphobia and anti-Muslim bigotry.
“Today’s historic event is a step toward healing and a cause for celebration as our state moves in the direction of embracing the full diversity of religions in our state.”
There are other beautiful examples, at a national level, where American Muslim leaders have been given such an honor to lead others in prayers.
Debbie Almontaser made history in January as the first Muslim American woman to offer a prayer at the traditional presidential inauguration service.
Leading American Muslim scholar imam Omar Suleiman offered prayers in Congress in May, 2019.
Imam Abdullah Antepli, Duke’s chief representative of Muslim affairs, also delivered the opening prayer for the US House of Representatives in Washington, DC, in September 2017.