'Do you beat your wife?' lawmaker asks Muslim-American students

'Do you beat your wife?' lawmaker asks Muslim-American students
2 min read
06 Mar, 2017
Republican state lawmaker's office quizzes Muslim students about views on apostasy and Sharia law ahead of cancelled meeting.
Republican Rep. John Bennett once described Islam as a "cancer" [AFP]
Parents and community groups are outraged after US Muslim students were asked whether they beat their wives during a trip on Thursday to an Oaklahoma lawmaker's office.

The two page forms, which were handed out by staff at Republican state Rep. John Bennett's office, also asked the students whether Muslims should rule over non-Muslims and if apostates should be punished.

Students were made to fill out the forms as a requirement before meeting Bennett, said Adam Soltani, executive director of Oklahoma's chapter of CAIR.

They were in the end unable to meet hte local lawmaker after being told that the former US marine was away, he added.

"What's most inflammatory is the questions itself, 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," Soltani said.

The students visited Oklahoma's state capitol on Thursday for an annual Muslim Day organised by CAIR to encourage engagement between the Muslim community and state legislators.

In an email to the Tulsa World newspaper, Bennett confirmed that the surveys were given to the students who visited his office last weak. He appeared to justify the questionnaire by saying that Islamic law and the Quran permit Muslims to beat their wives, though added that "this certainly does not mean that all Muslim men beat their wives".

The questionnaire prepared for Rep. John Bennet's office by ACT for America [CAIR]

This is not the first time, however, that Bennett has courted controversy over his views on Islam.

In 2014, claimed to have read the Quran and sayings of the Islamic prophet and concluded in a speech that "90 percent of it is violence."

He then said: "If I'm an Islamophobe speaking the truth about Islam then you're absolutely right".

According to Soltani, the questionnaire used by Bennett's office was prepared by the Oklahoma chapter of ACT for America, an organisation described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as America's largest grassroots anti-Muslim movement.