December 2016 Church & State - December 2015

Okla. Legislators Fund Study On ‘Radical Islam’

  AU admin

An Oklahoma state representative says he will file legislation next year to prohibit “terrorist organizations” from being active in Oklahoma, news outlets are reporting. 

State Rep. John Bennett (R-Sallisaw) led an interim study Oct. 25 in the House Judiciary and Civil Procedure Committee about “radical Islam” and groups he perceives as dangerous.

Bennett listed Hamas, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the North American Islamic Trust and the Islamic Society of North America as organizations that must be opposed because they “are here to destroy us.”

During the hearing on the issue, Bennett said, “The enemy is in the wire. Some of them are in this room today.”

Critics said that Bennett’s study lumped benign organizations that represent the interests of U.S. Muslims with terrorist groups. Some Muslim community leaders who attended the hearing were offended by his remarks. 

“As an American Muslim in a post-9/11 world, I have been called a lot of names and told a lot of very unkind things,” Adam Soltani, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR, said. “I’ve received countless death threats and have a consistent concern for the safety of Muslims across our state and country.”

Fear of Muslims has been a persistent theme in Oklahoma. In 2010, voters approved a constitutional amendment to ban Islamic law in the state. It was challenged in court by CAIR and declared unconstitutional. 

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