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CAIR to Ask for DOJ Probe of Tenn. Sheriff’s ‘Raw Anti-Muslim Bigotry’

DOJ Probe of Tenn. Sheriff(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/30/15) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today said it will call on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the civil rights implications of “raw anti-Muslim bigotry†expressed by a Tennessee sheriff who claims President Obama is a Muslim who “belongs to the Muslim Brotherhoodâ€Â and says he plans to monitor law-abiding members of the local Muslim community.

Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals recently told a local Tea Party meeting that his officers contacted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after seeing what they viewed as suspicious behavior at a shopping center. That comment, made at a meeting in the Sevier County Courthouse, was prompted by an audience member’s statement about “women in burqas spending long periods of time in shops without making purchases.â€

An official at the shopping center said she was not aware of any complaints of loitering customers.

The speech and questions from the audience included frequent references to Muslim residents or visitors to the county.

One audience member falsely claimed the “first page of the Koran (Islam’s holy text)†says “you will believe in Islam, either voluntarily or by force, or we’re going to kill you.†That person added that “there is no such thing as a modern, good Muslim.â€

That same person claimed that a church in Dayton, Ohio, is being protected by the FBI because of “people in burqas acting aggressively toward the congregation.â€Â 

The audience member continued: “Here’s the important part that I wanted to make you aware of. . .you won’t see this on the Internet. The FBI said this is happening all over the country. They’re going into churches, they’re being aggressive, they’re being controversial, and the government is not allowing this to be reported anywhere. They’re squashing it because they’re Muslims and they’re Islamic terrorists, is what they are.â€Â â€œObama’s relatives,â€Â someone in the audience responded. 

Sherriff Seals said Sevier County churches would be protected. “A lot of the churches here. . .most churches in Sevier County. . .they’ve got people that’s in there that’s armed,†said Seals. “As you all know, our president is Muslim. I don’t care what he says. He belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood. I don’t care what he says. I’m a firm believer of that.â€

When asked if the police monitor a specific group local Muslims who offer Friday prayers and “have been reported to be aggressive in the local restaurants,†Seals said. “I didn’t know that they were up there. What we have to do is, identify who they are and then pass it along.â€

SEE: Sheriff Ron Seals Tells Tea Party of Suspicious Activity

“The views expressed by Sheriff Seals and the audience members are raw anti-Muslim bigotry and, while protected by the First Amendment, indicate that the sheriff would be incapable of treating Muslim residents of his county equally under the law,†said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We will urge the U.S. Department of Justice and relevant state agencies to investigate the civil rights implications of the sheriff’s inaccurate, extremist and un-American views.â€

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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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

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