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'Do you beat your wife?' Lawmaker distributes Islamophobic questionnaire

Protestors outside an anti-Islamophobia CAIR event in New York [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 5 March, 2017

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An Oklahoma representative demanded student constituents answer an Islamophobic questionnaire written by a hate group before he would meet with them.

An Oklahoma lawmaker forced American Muslim school children to fill out a bigoted questionnaire written by an "Islamophobic hate group" before they could speak with their representative.

A representative for John Bennett, A US lawmaker for the second district of Oklahoma, gave out the Islamophobic questionnaire - sparking a vociferous response from an American Muslim advocacy group.

"John Bennett has no right to do this to Muslims or to any group of people," said Adam Soltani, executive director for the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) Oklahoma.

"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 completely different."

Soltani in particular drew exception to one of the more controversial questions on the paper - whether it is acceptable for a Muslim to beat his wife.

"Firstly, That's completely false," Soltani said in a Facebook video.

"Second of all, nobody should be vetted with stupid, Islamophobic, hateful, bigotted questions before they can meet with their representative."

The question reads: "The Koran, the sunna of Mohammed and Sharia Law of all schools says that the husband can beat his wife. Do you beat your wife?"

In response to this particular question, Soltani wrote: "If John Bennett wants to know Muslim men are instructed to treat their wives, he needs to read this:

"The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "The best among you are those who treat their wives in the best manner."

Bennett is an army veteran who served with the US Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan and has inspired controversy in the past for his Islamophobic views, including the idea that there is no difference between moderate and radical Islam.

"Their [Muslims] goal is the destruction of Western civilization from within," he said at a constituents meeting in 2014.

"This [Islam] is a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out."

Martha Perry, Bennet's legislative assistant, said Bennett was not available for comment.

The questionnaire in question was written by the anti-Islam group, ACT for America - for which previous National Security advisor, Michael Flynn, is a board member.

ACT for America was founded in 2007 by Brigitte Gabriel, who once said "every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim."

"Our enemy is not an organization of people living overseas plotting to attack," Gabriel wrote in her book.

"Our enemies are the neighbors next door, the doctors practicing in our hospitals, and the workers who share our lunch break."

Soltani said that Bennett's behaviour was unacceptable because there was an implication that Muslims weren't welcome and their representatives should be more accessible.

The state of Oklahoma ranks sixth in the US for women killed by men in a domestic violence incident.

Muslims in the state represent less than one percent of teh population.

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