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Surviving, and starting over after the May 20 tornado

Islamic leader Saad Mohammad talks about surviving the May 20 tornado in Moore.
by Carla Hinton Modified: May 24, 2013 at 1:16 am •  Published: May 26, 2013

— “We survived.”

The words of hope and faith were spoken by a leader in the local Muslim community who saw his home fall to pieces around him.

In the aftermath of the deadly storm that struck his neighborhood Monday, Saad Mohammad, director of Islamic news and information for the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, said he and his family remain optimistic.

“We are still all together. We survived — we just have to start over,” he said.

Mohammad is one of the more visible members of the Oklahoma City area Muslim community, through his work with the Islamic Society and his post as board chairman of the Council on American Islamic Relations-Oklahoma chapter. He also has played a key role in the growing interfaith movement in the metro.

He said he rode out Monday's storm by hunkering down in a bedroom closet with his family as the tornado pummeled its way through Moore. He said all he and his wife, Desiree, and their twin 16-year-old sons could do is listen as tornadic winds wreaked havoc.

Mohammad said tornadoes had touched down close to his home in previous years, but he somehow escaped the disaster they brought down upon the lives of others.

Mohammad said he thought Monday afternoon would be no different.

“A tornado has passed by me so many times, I just thought this time it would pass by again,” he said.

“When I heard the housing ripping apart and the windows breaking, I knew that it got me this time.”

Mohammad said he had driven home from his job with Hiland Dairy on Monday with the realization that another storm was brewing. He said he lives on a quiet street in the Westmoore housing addition and the afternoon was shaping up to be a typical one for tornado season in Tornado Alley.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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