(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 8/18/2017) – The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today issued a statement in response to an Islamophobic social media post by state Rep. John Bennett calling for the removal of American mosques.

Bennett’s Facebook post, which has since been taken down, suggests that if Confederate monuments are being removed because of the Civil War, mosques should also be removed due to 9/11.

SEE: Oklahoma Lawmaker’s Facebook Post Regarding Mosques Sparking Controversy
http://kfor.com/2017/08/18/oklahoma-lawmakers-facebook-post-regarding-mosques-sparking-controversy/

In the statement, CAIR-OK Government Affairs Director Anna Facci said:

“We are deeply disappointed once again to see a bigoted, anti-Muslim post from Rep. Bennett, who has wasted taxpayer money and time on blatant attacks on the Oklahoma Muslim community since 2013.

 “We have repeatedly tried to have an open and honest conversation with Rep. Bennett about the contributions and benefits Muslims bring to our state, but his doors have been shut on our community time and time again.

 “We unequivocally oppose any suggestion that mosques need to be removed from America as such statements go against the ideals of religious freedom as enshrined in the First Amendment of our Constitution.

 “We continue to affirm our position that removal of Confederate memorials nationwide is the appropriate and American thing to do.”

Representative John Bennett (R-Sallisaw), has been widely criticized for his open hostility to Islam and Muslims. Rep. Bennett has called Islam “a cancer that needs to be cut out of the nation” and has repeatedly stated that he does not consider Islam to be a religion.

SEE: CAIR-OK Responds to Rep. Bennett’s Islamophobic Hearing
https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2016/10/25/cair-ok-responds-rep-bennetts-islamophobic-hearing

For background information on John Bennett’s past anti-Muslim rhetoric and attacks on the Oklahoma Muslim community, go to:

Oklahoma State Representative Receives Award from anti-Muslim Hate Group
https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/11/04/oklahoma-state-representative-receives-award-anti-muslim-hate-group

CAIR’s national office has called on state and local governments across the nation to respond to the recent terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Va., by removing all government monuments and symbols that celebrate the Confederacy.

SEE: CAIR Says Removal of Confederate Memorials Nationwide a ‘Fitting Response’ to Terror Attack on Va. Anti-Racist Rally
http://cair.com/press-center/press-releases/14533-cair-says-removal-of-confederate-memorials-nationwide-a-fitting-response-to-terror-attack-on-va-anti-racist-rally.html

The Washington-based civil rights organization said it has witnessed an unprecedented increase in hate incidents targeting members of minority groups since the election of Donald Trump and is urging community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/report

CAIR recently launched an app to share critical “know your rights” information and to simplify the process to report hate crimes and bias incidents. CAIR is urging American Muslims and members of other minority groups to download the app and utilize this resource to stay informed and empowered.

For a quick download of CAIR’s civil rights app, click here: http://www.cair.com/app

CAIR Oklahoma is the state’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties of all people, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR Oklahoma es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR-OK Government Affairs Director Anna Facci, 918-269-7924, afacci@cair.com; CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani, 405-248-5853, asoltani@cair.com

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