Press Releases

CAIR: Tenn. Lt. Gov. Questions Muslim Religious Rights

Gubernatorial candidate urged to meet with state’s Muslim leaders

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/25/10) — A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey to meet with representatives of that state’s Islamic community after the gubernatorial candidate seemed to claim that First Amendment religious rights may not apply to Muslims and that Islam may not be a real religion.

[To CONTACT Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, e-mail: As always, be POLITE.]

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said Ramsey’s remarks came in response to a question on a recent campaign stop. The questioner said: “We’ve got a threat that’s invading our country from Muslims. What’s your stand?”

Ramsey responded by referring to a controversy over the expansion of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He defended religious freedoms, but claimed “you cross the line when they start trying to bring shariah [Islamic] law into the state of Tenn. . .into the United States.” He went on to state: “You could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion or is it a nationality, way of life or cult, whatever you want to call it. . .this is something that we are going to have to face.”

SEE: Ramsey Argues Freedom of Religion Doesn’t Apply to Muslims (Video)

“We see a disturbing trend in our nation in which it is suggested that American Muslims should have fewer or more restricted constitutional rights than citizens of other faiths,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We urge Lt. Gov. Ramsey to meet with representatives of the Tennessee Muslim community who can offer him balanced and accurate information about Islam.”

SEE: Does the Right View Muslims as Equal Citizens? (CAIR)

He noted that retired General William Boykin mirrored Ramsey’s views when the general stated in a recent interview: “What we are not seeing first and foremost is the fact that Islam is not religion. It is a totalitarian way of life. There is a religious component. But we still treat it as a First Amendment issue when in fact it is a totalitarian way of life.”

SEE: General Boykin Says Practice of Islam Not Protected Under First Amendment

Hooper said activists nationwide are seeking to restrict the right of Muslims to build or expand mosques, introducing anti-Islam legislation or resolutions, disrupting Muslim events, and even challenging the right of Muslims to live where they choose.

SEE: CAIR Rep on CNN to Discuss Opposition to U.S. Mosques (Video)
Okla. Legislator’s Proposal Would Ban Use of Sharia Law
CAIR Video: Fla. Anti-Islam Group Seeks to Disrupt Muslim Event
CAIR Video: Okla. Neighbor Posts Yard Signs Opposing New Residents

A church in Florida is also encouraging Americans to desecrate the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, on September 11.

SEE: Florida Church Hosting “International Burn a Koran Day” on 9/11

Yesterday, CAIR called on the FBI and Virginia’s Tidewater Joint Terrorism Task Force to explain why a leader of an anti-Islam hate group was invited to offer training to state and federal law enforcement officers.

SEE: Anti-Islam Hate Group Leader Trains Va. Terror Task Force

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CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail:


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