The imam Omar Suleiman, who you may remember from Zac Crain’s July 2017 feature in D Magazine, was named one of “25 Muslims changing America” by CNN. In an interview with the news network, the president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and a scholar-in-residence at Irving’s Valley Ranch Islamic Center describes receiving a letter from State Rep. Klyde Biedermann that asked Suleiman, a New Orleans native, to take a “loyalty oath.”
After calling other imams in Texas, Suleiman, who was reminded of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, realized that Biedermann had sent similar letters to nearly every mosque in the state. Joining with other religious leaders, Suleiman held a press conference to challenge the state representative.
“I wanted to send a message to Rep. Biedermann, as well as other Islamophobes and other lawmakers that think they can bully the Muslim community, that we are not afraid of you,” Suleiman says. “Not only do we feel as American as you, but we will not allow you to impose your narrow definition of American-ness on us, just as we will not allow extremist groups to impose their narrow definition of Islam on us.”