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Oklahoma lawmaker’s remarks on Muslim beliefs sparks controversy

SALLISAW, Okla. – An Oklahoma lawmaker’s remarks on Muslim beliefs have sparked controversy.

The remarks came after the radical Muslim group, ISIS, beheaded two American journalists.

Representative John Bennett from Sallisaw says he’s tired of being politically correct when it comes to terrorist actions being linked to Muslims extremists.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Oklahoma chapter is now demanding he issue an apology for what they call “derogatory statements.”

“We feel accepted in Oklahoma. We don’t believe he represents that,” Adam Soltani, CAIR Oklahoma Executive Director said Wednesday.

On Monday, Rep. Bennett wrote on Facebook: “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.”

Soltani says believing all Muslims are extremists would be similar to accepting the KKK as Christian representatives.

“ISIS is a very concerning thing,” he said. “Their actions are inhumane, barbaric and really the antithesis of what our faith, Islam, stands for.”

Bennett disagrees.

“For us to sit back and listen to their lies and deflection and let them continue on their claims that this is all racist and I’m an ‘Islamaphobe,’ it’s just absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

Bennett wants Oklahomans to be educated on what the Qur’an says, claiming the ISIS¬†beheadings are a direct result of its teachings.

“Makes me sick. Makes me sick to my stomach,” he said, “and it makes me even more sick that they’re using Islam or the Qur’an to justify what they’re doing. ¬†We have to watch (extremists). You’ve got to watch them and they need to be reported to police.”

“We love living here,” Soltani said. “We love the people and we’re here as an organization to protect our faith and defend it from these types of things.”

CAIR also sent a letter to the House Speaker, Jeff Hickman, wanting a response to Bennett’s Facebook post.

Hickman released a statement to NewsChannel 4 saying: “All members of the Oklahoma Legislature are duly elected by and accountable to their constituents, and are free to voice their own opinions. As Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, I have found that most Oklahomans welcome anyone who respects our laws and embraces our state, our culture and our people.”