State Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, plans to file legislation next year that would prohibit terrorist organizations from operating in Oklahoma, but he didn't offer specifics on what that might look like.
The retired U.S. Marine and former police officer led an interim study Tuesday in the House Judiciary and Civil Procedure Committee to discuss Islam, Shariah Law, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the radicalization process, the study states:
In light of the previous terrorist attack at Ft. Hood and subsequent terrorist attack in San Bernadino, among others, there is a growing concern about the safety of Oklahoma citizens. The position of some in government that these terrorist attacks were merely “workplace violence” is an [sic] response that satisfies few. Further, with the potential threat of terrorists infiltrating America from the southern border and from undocumented refugees from foreign, war-torn countries, it is time for our leaders to understand radical Islam and how American citizens are being radicalized here in Oklahoma as well as the rest of America.
“If you love America and love freedom and our way of life, you have an obligation to stand and fight against Hamas, [the Council on American-Islamic Relations], [The North American Islamic Trust], [the Islamic Society of North America], and all these other groups that are here to destroy us,” Bennett said. “The enemy is in the wire. Some of them are in this room today.”
Imam Imad Enchassi from the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City attended the study, along with Adam Soltani, the executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR-Oklahoma.
One of the presenters, retired U.S. Marine and founder of UnderstandingTheThreat.com John Guandolo, called Soltani a terrorist during the hearing, eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley reports:
Guandolo said there were other terrorist-linked organizations in the state, as well, including the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City and related groups in Norman, Tulsa and Stillwater; the Islamic Council of Oklahoma, in Edmond; and the Muslim Student Associations on the campuses of Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Central Oklahoma, Southeastern Oklahoma State University and other college campuses in the state.
"The jihadist network does exist (in Oklahoma)," Guandolo said.
"Any delay today in dealing with this danger in your state will lead to greater danger tomorrow," Guandolo said.
He later added, "Unlike most states, Oklahoma has a lot better understanding of the threat, a receptive law enforcement community and elected officials willing to make decision based on a historical assessment of the threat."
A separate speaker referred to CAIR as "suit-wearing jihadists.”
Soltani said in a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon the assertion broke his heart, and that he's consistently and unequivocally stood for justice and defended the U.S. Constitution.
“As an American Muslim in a post-9/11 world, I have been called a lot of names and told a lot of very unkind things,” Soltani said. “I've received countless death threats and have a consistent concern for the safety of Muslims across our state and country.”
Enchassi said in his own social media post Wednesday he knows bigotry, racism, and xenophobia have always existed, but he can't believe public funds were spent to promote it.
“I am sure that money could've been spent on many desperately needed social programs in our State,” Enchassi said. “I promise and pledge that I will continue to stand with you as you stood with me. I love you all. USA is our country. Oklahoma is our State. Oklahoma City is our City. I will keep outreach to Rep. Bennett as I did before. Meanwhile I will continue educating, feeding the poor, clothing the naked, healing the sick in our City. I will continue working for peace and promoting love.”