(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 1/8/15) – The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today called on that state’s religious and political leaders to repudiate remarks made by Representative John Bennett (R-Sallisaw) calling on Muslims to condemn their holy text, the Quran.
In a press release, Rep. Bennett falsely claimed that “the Quran, Islam, and Mohammed’s hadiths justifies, teaches, and makes it obligatory to commit violence against non-Muslims.” He added that “if CAIR Oklahoma really condemns terrorism and believes in First Amendment protections for everyone, they need to prove it by condemning the verses in the Quran that call for these violent acts.”
SEE: State Representative Calls on Muslim Group to Condemn Sections of the Quran
“Representative Bennett has already made it clear that he hates Muslims and Islam,” said CAIR-OK Director Adam Soltani. “Given this bias, it should not surprise anyone that he would target the foundation holy text of Islam that is regarded by Muslims as the word of God.”
Soltani added: “Bennett’s misinterpretation of Islam is the same as the violent extremists and are not shared by the vast majority of Muslims. This erroneous understanding is similar to when slaver owners used Bible verses to justify the human trafficking of Africans. We condemn the distortions of Islamic principles promoted by both Representative Bennett and violent extremists.”
CAIR-OK Staff Attorney Veronica Laizure responded, “The same First Amendment protections that guarantee the rights of American Muslims to practice their faith also guarantee that Rep. Bennett has a platform for his anti-Islam views.
“The verses of the Quran that Mr. Bennett finds objectionable are protected by the same law as his bigoted, uneducated speech about Oklahoma Muslims. When we challenge his accusations, we are protecting the safety of a community that already faces disproportionate violence, harassment, and hatred.”
Muslims all over the world have responded to the violence in Paris with outrage, rejecting any association of terrorist attacks with Islam.
SEE: CAIR Oklahoma Condemns Paris Terrorist Attack
Since the Paris attacks, Muslims in France have suffered a number of violent reprisals.
CAIR-Oklahoma is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialog, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
– END –
CONTACT: CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani, 405-248-5853, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-OK Staff Attorney Veronica Laizure, 405-430-9877, email@example.com