Oklahoma Muslims visited the state Capitol on Friday to try to publicly ease tension between them and their neighbors.
They discussed several topics with lawmakers like racial profiling.
Meanwhile, protestors on the steps of the capitol held signs saying things like, “Every Muslim is a Jihadist.”
The Muslims who visited the capitol said it is labels like that they are trying to stop. The group filled the state capitol to be more involved in the public arena.
“Most of the young Muslims I know were born here, we were raised here, so we are like America's future so it's important that we are involved,” said 16-year-old Zille Huma.
Huma and dozens of her classmates made this a field trip to learn the importance of civic engagement, how the legislature works and to get some face time with lawmakers.
“If you are not in this building, you are left out of so much and not being in this building will devastate you, your issue, your family and your community,” said Rep. Mike Shelton, (D) Oklahoma City.
They tackled topics like free speech, the teaching of religion in public schools and racial profiling.
“You see my five fingers right? They're not all the same size are they? So it's the same thing with human beings,” explained Huma. “Criminals and good people come in all shapes and sizes so you can't say, ‘Oh, she's a Muslim so she is going to come here and do something bad,” she added.
Not everyone welcomed the group. Picketers chanted, held signs and even for the duration of the event.
Oklahoma Muslims said they have been demonized and dehumanized, but that they are our neighbors and they are proud of it.
“I'm a dad, I'm a husband, I'm a professor rather than what they see on the news that's happening overseas,” said Dr. Imam Imad Enchassi with the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City. “We are
American Muslims, we have been here since the 1600s,” he added.
Nearly 200 people attended “Muslim Day” at the Capitol.