It’s always good to get to know your representative and it is also essential for elected officials to meet with their constituents. The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of Oklahoma sought to make this a possibility and organised their annual Muslim Day at the Capitol to allow for Muslims across the state to do just that.
The last thing that they expected was for them to be vetted and faced with Islamophobic questions ahead of even meeting their elected officials. Republican Rep. John Bennet refused to meet with the constituents unless they filled out a questionnaire with questions from a hate group called ‘Act for America.’
Act for America is one of the largest anti-Muslim extremist groups in the United States according to the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), claiming 280,000 members and over 1000 chapters across the country. The group works tirelessly to advance anti-Muslim legislation at a local and federal level, all the while continuing with demonising hate speech.
“They were distributed by Bennett’s office when three students from Tulsa’s Peace Academy school went to visit his office and requested to speak with him as Oklahoma citizens,” said the CAIR-Oklahoma Executive Director, Adam Soltani, in an interview.
Thereafter, he posted a video on Facebook from the Capitol to outline some of the questions that had been asked. Some of them are as follows:
- “Sharia law says that it must rule over the kafirs, the non-Muslims. Do you agree with this?”
- “The Koran, the sunna of Mohammed and Sharia Law of all schools say that the husband can beat his wife. Do you beat your wife?”
- “Mohammed was a killer of pagans, Christians and Jews that did not agree with him. Do you agree with this example?”
Watch the full video below.
While no one deserves to be vetted in such a way, sadly this comes as no surprise if one is to look at Bennet’s ethics. In 2014, he states in a Facebook post that the people of Oklahoma should “be wary” of their Muslim neighbours and that Islam’s ultimate gold is “the destruction of Western civilisation from within.”
Many in Oklahoma have rejected his remarks, including people in the Republican Party. Anna Flat, who chairs the Carter County Republican Party wrote, “These kinds of statements from Representatives and officials are ignorant and unacceptable from a purely liberty perspective… How would you like it if the Christian religion were the minority and your elected representatives were inciting people to ‘be wary’ of you?”
With this, CAIR is calling for him to be held responsible for his words and actions. See the video below for more.