The document asked the respondents whether they believed in ‘Sharia law,’ among other questions.
The executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has accused a state lawmaker of refusing to meet with Muslim constituents unless they first answer a questionnaire described as anti-Muslim.
Adam Soltani published a video on 2 March 2017 displaying the document, which he said was handed out by Republican Rep. John Bennett’s office in Oklahoma City. Soltani was joined by two people in the video who said they also received the questionnaire.
“His secretary stated that we could make an appointment with him once we answered all of those questions,” an unidentified woman says, recounting her experience.
The encounter supposedly took place during Muslim Day at the Capitol, which was organized by CAIR to encourage Muslim members to meet with elected officials. In the video, Soltani called for Rep. Bennett to be held accountable for the questionnaire:
John Bennett has no right to do this to Muslims or to any group of people to promote Islamophobia is one thing. But to refuse to meet with citizens of the state of Oklahoma unless they answer hateful, bigoted questions is something entirely different.
A day after posting the video, Soltani told us that Bennett refused an invitation to meet with his group in 2016. He also said that CAIR would consult with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) while continuing to challenge what he described as Bennett’s bigotry:
I’m sure he didn’t have a religious questionnaire for any other group of people. It’s discriminatory and it takes us back to a time in our country when people were treated differently because of who they were.
We contacted Rep. Bennett’s office seeking comment, but he has yet to respond.
In the video, Soltani stated he was informed that the questionnaire was created by the advocacy group ACT for America and included questions such as:
Mohammed was a killer of pagans, Christians and Jews that did not agree with him. Do you agree with this example?
Sharia Law says that it must rule over the kafirs, the non-Muslims. Do you agree with this?
I have heard that, according to accepted Islamic sources, Mohammed, at the 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?
We also contacted ACT for America regarding Soltani’s allegation they were the group responsible for the questionnaire but have yet to hear back from them. (The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has rates that organization as an “extremist” anti-Islam group.)
In 2014, Bennett described the Islamic religion as “a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out” during a gathering with other Republicans. In October 2016, Soltani and his group criticized Bennett, accusing him of “shamefully wasting taxpayer money to promote his own biased agenda.”