The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) is seeking protection for the Muslim community in Oklahoma, following State Rep. John Bennett's controversial remarks.
CAIR-OK held a news conference Wednesday afternoon outside the Oklahoma Republican headquarters in Oklahoma City. The organization called on State GOP leaders to repudiate Bennett's remarks, and to seek stepped-up protection for the state's Islamic community members.
Bennett made a Facebook comment on Monday, September 1, which reads in part, "The Quran clearly states that non-Muslims should be killed... Be wary of the individuals who claim to be 'Muslim American'. Be especially wary if you're a Christian."
According to CAIR-OK, Rep. Bennett told constituents at a party gathering Tuesday night in Sallisaw, that Islam's goal is "the destruction of Western civilization from within," that the faith is 90 percent "violence" and that Islam "is a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out." He added that he is "not going to stand back and let [Muslims] push Islam into our nation."
During the news conference on Wednesday, CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani said Bennett has crossed the line of inflammatory comments to almost inciting violence against Muslims in the state of Oklahoma.
Soltani said the mosque in Oklahoma City has been vandalized twice with hate messages and violent imagery. He also said a Tulsa woman who was perceived to be Muslim was violently attacked.
Imam Imad Enchassi with the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City said during the news conference that he has called the local FBI office to seek protection and advice for security. He said at Oklahoma schools, Muslim children are being told to not play outside.
Several other speakers also condemned Bennett's statements during the conference.
CAIR-OK has called on state Republican Party leaders to denounce the anti-Muslim comments and asked for an apology from Bennett.