Before Meeting With Muslim Constituents, GOP Lawmaker Asks If They Beat Their Wives

Oklahoma state Rep. John Bennett gave Muslim high school students who wanted to meet with him an Islamophobic questionnaire first.

WASHINGTON — Muslim high school students requesting to meet with a Republican Oklahoma lawmaker were presented with a lengthy and hate-filled questionnaire that asked, among other things, “Do you beat your wife?”

That’s according to Adam Soltani, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Oklahoma, who posted a video to Facebook shortly after the incident occurred Thursday.

“I just have been informed by some of our community members that Rep. John Bennett — who in my opinion, at this point, doesn’t even deserve to be called a representative — is refusing to meet with Muslims unless they answer questions from an Islamophobic hate group called Act For America,” Soltani said in the video.

Attempts to contact Bennett’s office Friday were unsuccessful. But in an email to Tulsa World, he reportedly confirmed Soltani’s story, and said the questions were “based on passages from the Quran and other Islamic texts,” according to the outlet.

The incident occurred during Muslim Day at the Capitol, an annual event hosted by CAIR that aims to connect Oklahoma Muslims with their representatives. Soltani told BuzzFeed that students from Tulsa’s Peace Academy, a private Islamic school, visited Bennett’s office, hoping for a chance to speak with him. Instead, one of the lawmaker’s assistants presented them with a lengthy questionnaire that appeared to be crafted by ACT For America.

The Southern Poverty Law Center labels ACT as the “largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America.”

“Nobody should be vetted with stupid, Islamophobic, hateful, bigoted questions before they can meet with their representative,” Soltani said.

Bennett is well known for his anti-Muslim sentiments. In 2014, he called Islam “a cancer” that must be cut out of America. He’s also said “Islam is not even a religion” and that there is “no difference between moderate Islam and extreme Islam.”

He also sparked controversy last year when he posted to Facebook a conservative blog post criticizing Hillary Clinton for the deaths of four Americans in the 2012 Benghazi attack. With the post Bennett wrote, “2 words ... firing squad,” appearing to call for the former secretary of state’s execution.

Here’s a sampling of the questions reportedly presented Thursday by Bennett’s office:

  • “The Koran, the sunna of Mohammed and Sharia Law of all schools say that the husband can beat his wife. Do you beat your wife?”
  • “I have heard that, according to accepted Islamic sources, Mohammed, at age of 49, married a 6-year-old girl, and that he had sex with her when he was 52 and she was only 9 years old. Is that really true?”
  • “Sharia law says that it must rule over the kafirs, the non-Muslims. Do you agree with this?”
  • “The Koran says: The unbelievers are your inveterate enemy. (4:101). The Koran also says that unbelievers are the ‘vilest of all creatures’ (98:6) and ‘the worst of animals’ (8:55). What hope is there of coexistence when Mohammed teaches practicing Muslims to have this attitude toward non-Muslims?” (Emphasis in original)

Responding to the news, the Oklahoma Democratic Party called Bennett “an embarrassment to the Oklahoma Legislature.”

“Why do Republicans continue to turn a blind eye and ignore Bennett’s hateful fearmongering actions?” the statement reads. “It is time for our state leaders to stand up against bigotry! Bennett’s continued unprofessional leadership is its own ‘cancer’ on the Oklahoma Legislature, and it is time for the Republicans to make it clear that they do not support Bennett and his hate.”

Below is a video of the state representative talking about Islam during an event in September 2014.

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