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After ugly incident at Islamic Center, faith leaders,others show Lawton values religious liberty, tolerance

Hassan Ahmed was shocked when someone left half of a carcass of a wild hog in the parking lot of the Islamic Center of Lawton back on Dec. 7.

But what's happened since then, he said, has more than made up for the hurt the center's members felt that day.

What happened, he said, was an outpouring of concern and support from Lawton-Fort Sill, as well as people from Oklahoma City and Tulsa. It began as soon as the news began to be disseminated and it was exhibited in a special way on Sunday when about 50 people  many of them non-Muslims came to the Islamic Center to condemn the Dec. 7 episode, stand for religious liberty and ask for tolerance in a diverse community.

The support was immediate, Ahmed said. People stopped by or sent messages or called; some delivered food; children sent in homemade artwork. A diversity of faith leaders  Muslim, Jewish, Christian and others  condemned the desecration and offered support.

At Sunday's news conference, three people were chosen to speak  a Christian, a Muslim and a representative of the Jewish community  but many more were there to show their support.

Masooda Burki of the American Muslim Association of Lawton thanked the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lawton for organizing the event and, while condemning the incident, acknowledged that a single individual or a few people who would carry out such an affront is not representative of an entire community, any more than Islam is defined by the small percentage of avowed Muslims who commit terrorism  mostly against fellow Muslims.

The Lawton Constitution

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