As the growing influence of the Islamic State in the Middle East continues, the threat of an attack on American soil has become real in the eyes of many. While religious extremism is a concern, one Republican is tapping into the fear the American people have with Islam.
According to The Oklahoman on Wednesday, Republican State Rep. John Bennett is dealing with criticism after he posted a status on his Facebook where he warned Americans, particular Christians, that they should be "wary" of people who say they are "Muslim American." “The Quran clearly states that non Muslims should be killed,” Bennett continued. Following the posting of his status, the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations quickly condemned Bennett for his views, pushing for the state representative to issue an apology.
"We are requesting that you denounce these anti-Muslim comments and issue an apology for said derogatory statements,” Adam Soltani said, the executive director of the Oklahoma Chapter of CAIR. Soltani said that any “anti-Muslim bigotry and statements" have no place in the state's Republican Party. Bennett has refused to issue an apology and noted that “we must shine a bright light on the role of the Muslim Brotherhood and its varied tentacles in the U.S." Bennett also noted that as easily as drugs and human trafficking can come over the border, that terrorism could be next.
While there are some who have criticize Bennett, others have offered their support. Dave Weston, the Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman, praised Bennett for speaking out, doubling down on his comments by noting that if Christians and Jews in America were ruled by Islam, they would be offered the choice of converting or being decapitated.
“It seems as if their attack on his comments is disingenuous at best. Here’s why. If we as Americans were ruled by Islam, then Christians and Jews like you and I could only keep practicing our faith if we paid a protection tax. But if you’re Christian or Jewish and don’t immediately convert to Islam, they imminently decapitate you. This is proven by ongoing observation around the world today.”
Soltani has said that when it comes to many non-Muslims, the words of the Quran are often "taken out of context," and misunderstood. Bennett and Weston have continued to defend their position, stating that if American Muslims want to be looked at in a better light, they should start by acknowledging that the Holocaust happened, that Israel has a right to exist and that they should condemn the killing of Christians around the world at the hands of Muslim extremists.