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Jun  2016 22
Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Partners with CAIR-OK and Phillips Theological Seminary on Discussion of Islamophobia and the Work of Nonprofits

The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits will present a workshop and discussion on Islamophobia and the work of nonprofits in partnership with the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Oklahoma City and Phillips Theological Seminary on June 29 at Phillips’ campus in Tulsa. The discussion will be led by Adam Soltani, the executive director of the CAIR Oklahoma, and it will focus on issues Muslims face and how nonprofit organizations, civic and faith leaders can address Islamophobia in their work and the community.

Daniel Billingsley, Vice President of External Affairs at the Center, believes the topic is especially timely given recent events and media attention.

“We began talking with CAIR earlier this year about presenting a workshop on Islamophobia,” Billingsley says. “We have had it on our schedule for several weeks. However, events in Orlando and France in recent days have made this especially important as we sort out the community’s response and how that will play into how Muslims are viewed and treated.”

Billingsley notes that the Orlando shooting at an LGBT nightclub has increased Islamophobic chatter in the media, particularly social media where hate speech is rampant. According to a National Public Radio report on Saturday, investigators believe the claimed ties to terrorist organizations were dubious, citing his profile fit a different narrative.  

“What is heartening is the outpouring of support from so many sources in disparate communities. Even in Oklahoma, we saw LGBT, Muslim, civic and other faith leaders stand together to call for an end to hate. As usual, nonprofits stepped up to engage in dialogue and provide a space for healing,” Billingsley notes. “However, backlash against the Muslim community has been palpable, particularly in social media and some political pundit communication. It has exposed an unbelievable level of misunderstanding. Misunderstanding leads to fear, leading to phobia, leading to hate that eventually leads to violence.”  

The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits hopes that the workshop will help nonprofit, faith, civic and other leaders engage in a dialogue to understand the disastrous effects of hate speech and Islamophobia. Billingsley also noted that issues around homophobia and hate speech affecting other marginalized groups will also be addressed.

“The Orlando shooting has opened old doors when it comes to Islamophobia, homophobia, bigotry and hate speech. America needs to shut those doors permanently. We hope this will be just the beginning of crucial conversations around these issues.”

Impact of Islamophobia in the Work of Nonprofits will be held at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa on June 29 at 11:30 a.m. Visit okcnp.org for more information about this free event.

Browse more posts by: Seminary Relations Staff, Phillips Admin/Staff
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