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Syrian politics spill over into Oklahoma City mosque

The Egyptian crisis and the possibility of a U.S. air strike on Syria have caused political divisions at mosques across the country to intensify — and the mosque at 3815 N St. Clair in Oklahoma City is no different, Imad Enchassi, imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, said Tuesday.
by Carla Hinton Published: September 10, 2013

The imams participating in the teleconference agreed local imams should concentrate on issues facing their local communities such as outreach, education and youth.

Enchassi said his efforts to be neutral and promote reconciliation have been criticized by some members of the mosque who are frustrated and want people, including him, to choose sides.

“They don't differentiate between Imad, which is me, and imam, which is my title,” he said.

Enchassi said he has volunteered overseas for the past three years to aid refugees. He said he worked with Islamic Relief, an international humanitarian agency, to deliver food, visit hospitals and perform other volunteer projects in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. He said he still has family ties to the area, as his aunts and sister live in Syria.

Enchassi said he was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and spent his teen years in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps.

He was there in September 1982 when the camps were set upon by a group called the Lebanese Christian militiamen and hundreds of refugees were killed. Enchassi said he was rescued by the American Red Cross and subsequently came to the United States, settling in Lubbock, Texas, in 1983. Enchassi said he came to Oklahoma City in the late 1980s where he helped found the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.

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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