Republican Rep wants Muslims out of Military
In an interview with Think Progress — conducted on Veterans Day — Rick Womick, the Republican representative for Murfreesboro, TN, tells reporters that if it was up to him, Muslims would be banned from serving in the American military.
“Personally I don't trust one Muslim in our military because they're commanded to lie to us,” Womick tells the website. “And if they really are a devout Muslim and follow the Koran and the Sunnah, then I feel threatened because they're commanded to kill me.”
As one could imagine, Womick’s comments quickly created a backlash from not just the Muslim community of Murfreesboro but from mosques across the country. While some politicians might try to such a statement and cover their back, Womick stood his ground. When the Murfreesboro Daily News asked him about his quip, Womick supported his hate speech and attested that the Muslims are in fact America’s enemy,
“We are at war with al-Qaeda and the Taliban, who are Muslims. It's a Catch-22. They are not allowed to kill their fellow Muslims, we're at war with Muslims,” said Womick.
“The only solution I see is that they not be allowed in the military.”
When the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) asked for the state to rebuke Womick for his comments, he fired back that he would ignore such demands.
“He needs to be reminded that there are thousands of Muslims who serve and are serving and there are many of them who gave up their lives to preserve the freedom of this country and the freedom that he is enjoying,” Saleh Sbenaty of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro tells the Tennessean.
For the town’s Islamic Center, this isn’t the first time they’ve experienced hatred on this scale. The mosque was profiled in TIME magazine last year after the words “Not Welcome” were spray-painted on a sign advertising the construction of the center. Tea Party members in Tennessee picketed the opening of the center, and Republican Ron Ramsey, Tennessee's lieutenant governor and at-the-time gubernatorial candidate, told The Colbert Report that "you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, a way of life or cult, whatever you want to call it?"
Last year, statistics for Murfreesboro estimated an Islamic community of around 250 families in a population of around 100,000. Of the 6 million or so Muslims living in America, around 3,500 of them currently serve in the United States Military.
The Nashville Scene reports that after Governor Bill Haslam was asked for his take on the statements, he told reporters, "I don’t think I would agree with Rick on that."
The governor was quick to dismiss calls for denouncing the lawmaker and said simply, “I would just say that on that issue I don’t agree with Rick."