(REPORT) — Muslim students visiting an Oklahoma lawmaker’s office in the state capitol were required to fill out a form that asked if they beat their wives and other Islamophobic questions, the U.S.’s largest Islamic advocacy group said Sunday.
The two-page form from Republican state Representative John Bennett’s office, which was shared by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also asked whether they believed an adherent to Islam should be punished for leaving the faith and if Muslims should rule over non-Muslims.
Bennett confirmed to the Tulsa World newspaper in an email that three Muslim students visiting his office Thursday as part of “Muslim Day” activities at the state capitol were handed forms that, among other things, asked, “Do you beat your wife?”
The lawmaker said Islamic law and the Koran permit Muslims to beat their wives, though “this certainly does not mean that all Muslim men beat their wives,” he wrote in the email, according to the newspaper.
A staff member at Bennett’s office handed the form to Muslim students who visited his office on Thursday seeking to meet with him, said Adam Soltani, the executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR. It was presented as a requirement before they could meet Bennett, Soltani said.
The students were at the capitol in Oklahoma City for an annual Muslim Day event organized by CAIR to introduce members of the community to their state lawmakers and encourage democratic engagement, Soltani told Reuters.
“What’s most inflammatory is the questions themselves, the fact that Muslims have to pass a religious test in order to see a representative of our state, surely he does not do this to Christian constituents or Jewish constituents,” he said.
Two of the students were high school students from Peace Academy in Tulsa, Anna Facci, an officer with the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR told the Washington Post Saturday, and the third was a law student from Oklahoma City University School of Law.
This is not the first time Bennett has faced criticism for his statements against Islam. In a speech in 2014, the lawmaker said he had read the Koran and the Prophet Mohammed’s sayings and that “90 percent of it is violence.”
He acknowledged facing rebukes over his positions on the religion and being called an Islamophobe. “If I’m an Islamophobe speaking the truth about Islam then you’re absolutely right,” he said at the speech, according to video from the Tulsa World newspaper.
The questionnaire’s heading said it was from an Oklahoma chapter of ACT for America, a national organization which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in the United States.
You won't believe what Islamophobic Bigot John Bennett is up to now
Posted by Adam Soltani on Thursday, March 2, 2017
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