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Group protests Gaza unrest at Oklahoma state Capitol

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: January 6, 2009 at 2:13 am •  Published: January 6, 2009
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America should take immediate steps to end Israel’s "illegal and immoral” offensive against the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers, the executive director of the Oklahoma City chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday.

"We as Oklahomans and as Americans should be concerned about this conflict because our taxes are going towards Israel,” Razi Hashmi said. "We should not allow our government to give Israel a blank check to allow the destruction of hopes for peace in the Middle East.”

More than 200 mostly Islamic Americans demonstrated peacefully Monday outside the state Capitol asking state and national leaders to press Israel for a cease-fire.

People walked in a circle during the noon hour by the south steps of the Capitol holding signs and chanting "Stop the killing, free, free Gaza!” and "Free, free Palestine; occupation is a crime!”

Michael Barlow, past president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City, watched quietly.

"War is unfortunate, but the question is: What is Israel to do, with scores of missiles being shot into Israeli population centers daily?” he said. "How long do you allow missiles to be shot into your country from another country?”

Hamas, whose charter specifically calls for the destruction of the state of Israel, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States.