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US State Lawmaker to Muslims: 'Do You Beat Your Wife?'

  • VOA News

FILE - Oklahoma state Rep. John Bennett speaks on the floor of the Oklahoma House in Oklahoma City, Jan. 3, 2017.

Islamic school students hoped to meet last week with a state representative at Oklahoma's capitol during Muslim Day, designed to combat hate rhetoric and hate legislation.

Instead, in the office of one representative, the students were asked to answer several written questions, including "Mohammed was a killer of pagans, Christians and Jews that did not agree with him. Do you agree with this example?"

The students from the Peace Academy in Tulsa did not meet Thursday with Republican Representative John Bennett, who has compared Islam to "a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out."

Another question Bennett asked on Muslim Day, was "Do you beat your wife?"

Bennett confirmed Friday what happened in his office through an email he sent to The Tulsa World. According to the newspaper, Bennett said the questions were based on the Quran and other Islamic texts.

"Nobody should be vetted with stupid, Islamophobic, hateful, bigoted questions before they can meet with their representative," said Adam Soltani, the executive director of Oklahoma's chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations - CAIR.

"The only way to see a change in our state is to engage our elected leaders and ensure the Muslim voice is heard," Soltani said.

Oklahoma's Democratic Party said in a statement "Bennett's continued unprofessional leadership is its own 'cancer' on the Oklahoma Legislature..."

CAIR's Muslim Day activities at the capitol included handing out an educator's guide to Islamic religious practices, a pamphlet outlining rights and copies of the U.S. Constitution.

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