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Republican state chair slammed for attacks on Muslim schools

24th Sep 2021
Republican state chair slammed for attacks on Muslim schools

Elham Asaad Buaras

Chair of the Oklahoma Republican Party, John R Bennett, has been denounced following his latest anti-Muslim racial rhetoric this time targeting Muslim schools.

In an almost 9-minute video posted on the Oklahoma Republican Party Facebook page on September 4, the former Marine makes false and offensive comments such as, “All of them tell us they are commanded by their God, which is Allah, to fight the entire non-Muslim world until Allah’s divine law, which is Shariah law, is imposed on every human being on earth,” and “If you just simply read from the most widely used textbook in Islamic schools here in the United States today, you will see what the 10-year-old Muslim children are taught about Islam is the same as what Al-Qaeda or the Taliban teaches.”

It’s not the first time Bennett, who assumed the chairmanship on April 10, has expressed Islamophobic views.In 2013, he helped create the Counter-Terrorism Legislative Caucus and worked with anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney and his Center for Security Policy (CPS) to try to “ban any foreign law that may limit Oklahomans’ constitutional rights”.

The law was an attempt to ban Sharia Law. The law was denounced by both the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) and the Oklahoma American Civil Liberties Union. He was later given the “National Defender of Freedom” award by the CSP in 2016. The CSP is a Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group.

During a town hall meeting in 2014, he called Islam “a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out.” He also called the world’s second-largest religion a sociopolitical movement intent on world dominance and destruction of Western civilisation. He hosted an interim legislative study to examine the threat “radical Islam” posed to the state. Legislative leaders at the time approved the study, named “Radical Islam, Shariah Law, the Muslim Brotherhood and the radicalisation process” despite organised opposition from the faith community.

He also called the Council on American Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil liberties group that seeks to enhance the understanding of Islam, a terrorist organisation. In March 2017, during CAIR’s third annual Oklahoma ‘Muslim Day’ in Oklahoma City, Bennett gave a questionnaire to three Muslim students who came to meet him. The questionnaire said, ‘The Qur’an, the sunnah of Mohammed and Sharia Law of all schools say that the husband can beat his wife. Do you beat your wife?’

According to CAIR the questionnaire had “intentionally misinterpreted ideas [from the Qur’an] to try to slander Muslims.” The survey was written by the far-right ACT! for America.

CAIR-OK Executive Director, Adam Soltani, said, “John Bennett has a long history dating back to 2013 of offensive attacks on Islam and the Oklahoma Muslim community. It is a pastime that Republicans speak out, and he should be removed from a position of authority as he has proven repeatedly that he is unhinged and seeks only to spread hate, divisiveness, and promote violence towards innocent Muslims in our state and country.”

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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