Tennessee: Republican politician delivers anti-Islam rant as hundreds of Muslims protest at state capitol

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on state and national GOP leaders to repudiate a lengthy rhetorical attack on Islam and the Quran by a co-sponsor of a Tennessee bill that, in its original form, would have effectively outlawed basic Islamic principles (Sharia).

During a hearing today of the Tennessee House Judiciary Committee, State Rep. Rick Womick (R) claimed the proposed Material Support to Designated Entities Act is “not about religion,” then launched into a lengthy attack on Islam and its revealed text, ultimately comparing the faith to Nazism and white supremacy. Womick stated:

“[A Tennessee Muslim leader] says that the Quran does not support violence and that he denounces all violence. I believe him. But he is an exception, because those who truly hold the Quran for every word that it speaks cannot believe that…

“With Islam there is no freedom of religion allowed within or outside of Islam. There is no freedom of speech or thought, no freedom of artistic expression, no freedom of the press, no equality of peoples, because non-Muslims are never equal to Muslims. There is one set of laws for Muslim men and different laws for women and non-Muslims. Under Islam, women are to be beaten…

“It’s when you … demand that our Constitution take an exception to your beliefs, whether it be Sharia law or Nazism or white supremacy, it doesn’t make a difference.”

“Representative Womick’s hate rhetoric makes it clear that Islam and Muslims are the true targets of this bill,” said CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, who has helped challenge similar anti-Islam bills in other states. “His rant is evidence of the hateful paranoia that will inevitably lead to this bill being used against peaceful American Muslims.”

“Mr. Womick’s extremist views are obviously based on distortions, misinformation and misconceptions about Islam and Muslims that must be repudiated by fellow Republicans,” said Abbas.

He said the original form of the legislation was reportedly written with the assistance of David Yerushalmi, head of the anti-Islam hate group Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE).

On its now password-protected website, SANE offered a policy proposal that would make “adherence to Islam” punishable by 20 years in prison, called for the immediate deportation of all non-citizen Muslims and urged Congress to declare war on the “Muslim Nation,” which SANE defined as “all Muslims.”

CAIR press release, 26 April 2011

See also ” Hundreds of Muslims Protest at State Capitol”, WSMV, 26 April 2011