The head of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the organization as a whole, and a local imam were all branded as terrorists during an Oklahoma House of Representatives hearing Tuesday night, The Tulsa World reported.
Chris Gaubatz, a security consultant with UnderstandingtheThreat.com, an anti-Muslim website, claimed during the House’s study on radical Islam that CAIR’s purpose is to establish an Islamic state and to destroy western civilization from the inside. The newspaper reported that members of CAIR’s Oklahoma chapter, including executive director Adam Soltani, and Imam Imad S. Enchassi, of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, were present when those comments were made.
State Rep. John Bennett (R) [pictured above] requested the study on radical Islam, according to the report. Bennett has had an open distaste for the Islamic religion, previously taking heat for saying that it is “a cancer that needs to be cut out of the nation.” He and the speakers were escorted in and out of the hearing by members of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the World reported.
Bennett said he was “sick and tired of political correctness and the bowing down of elected leaders every time the liberal media or the real threat calls us names for sounding the alarm,” according to Public Radio Tulsa. “We owe it to our citizens to protect them from this real and present danger.”
John Guandolo, the founder of UnderstandingtheThreat.com, said during the study that Islam has made major progress in Oklahoma and labeled Soltani a terrorist, according to the Tulsa World.
The Southern Poverty Law Center characterizes Guandolo, a former Marine and FBI agent, as “a disreputable character, who regularly attacks the U.S. government, claims that the director of the Central Intelligence Agency is a secret Muslim agent for the Saudi government and has said that that American Muslims ‘do not have a First Amendment right to do anything,'” according to a release from CAIR-OK.
Frank Gaffney, a prominent anti-Muslim activist and former Reagan administration official, also spoke at the hearing, although it’s unclear from published reports what his remarks were. Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy was cited by Donald Trump last year in support of his proposal to ban all Muslim immigration from the United States, and Gaffney has long suggested that U.S. officials have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and insinuated that President Obama is a secret Muslim.
Following the hearing, Soltani slammed the House study’s speakers, saying that there was no evidence supporting their allegations.
“Representative John Bennett is shamefully wasting taxpayer money to promote his own biased agenda,” he said in a statement. “This hearing was a new low for Representative Bennett, as his guests presented a biased narrative that achieves nothing more than demonizing and marginalizing the Oklahoma Muslim Community.”