SALLISAW, Okla. - An Oklahoma lawmaker refused to back down from a Facebook post on his page saying that mosques in America should be torn down because of 9/11 if Confederate statues are torn down.
When reached at his office, Bennett told 2 Works for You that he has no regrets about the statement, none at all.
The post by Rep. John Bennett, a retired marine, who represents District 2 in Sequoyah County suggested, he said "sarcastically," that if Confederate monuments are being removed because of the Civil War, mosques should also be removed due to 9/11.
"If we're removing Confederate monuments after the Civil War, I think we should also be removing mosques after 9/11," his Facebook post said.
"You're always going to get backlash and support no matter what you post," Bennett told 2 Works for You. "To be honest with you, I was being sarcastic. But it's ridiculous taking down statues because of perceived racism when it has nothing to do with that.
"Our whole society has become sissy-fied. Seriously, you're going to tear these statues down after 105 years? People can be as mad at me as they want. That's their right, but it's also my right to post anything I want."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement in response to Bennett's post. In the statement, CAIR-OK Government Affairs Director Anna Facci said:
"We are deeply disappointed once again to see a bigoted, anti-Muslim post from Rep. Bennett, who has wasted taxpayer money and time on blatant attacks on the Oklahoma Muslim community since 2013.
"We have repeatedly tried to have an open and honest conversation with Rep. Bennett about the contributions and benefits Muslims bring to our state, but his doors have been shut on our community time and time again.
"We unequivocally oppose any suggestion that mosques need to be removed from America as such statements go against the ideals of religious freedom as enshrined in the First Amendment of our Constitution.
"We continue to affirm our position that removal of Confederate memorials nationwide is the appropriate and American thing to do."
Rep. Bennett's post has since been taken down from Facebook, although he did tell 2 Works for You that he did not take it down.
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