After a colleague claimed the Muslim holy book condones the killing of innocent people, several Oklahoma lawmakers plan to return copies of the Quran to a state panel on diversity. The Governor's Ethnic American Advisory Council gave the books to Oklahoma's 149 senators and representatives.
"Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology," Representative Rex Duncan said. The Republican expressed his feelings Monday in a letter to colleagues. At least 17 legislators have told the panel they will return the gift.
Marjaneh Seirafi-Pour, chairwoman of the council and a Muslim, denounced Duncan's assessment of Islam. "I know he referred to Islam as an ideology. That is not a fact. It is a religion. It is very peaceful, very inclusive," Seirafi-Pour said.
In Washington, spokesman Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Duncan's statement is "disturbing" and "offensive" to Muslims.