A U.S. Senate candidate and former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice told voters this week that Islam is a “false religion.”
Republican Roy Moore — the front-runner in Alabama’s Aug. 15 special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions’ appointment as U.S. attorney general — made the comment Monday during a meeting of the North Jefferson County Republican Club at Jim ’N Nick’s BBQ in Gardendale, Alabama.
His remark came in response to a question about Sharia law from a woman at the meeting, as heard in a video posted to Moore’s campaign page on Facebook.
“I’ve seen a lot in the news about Sharia law, and Muslims demanding break times to do their prayers and wanting to have their laws oversee our laws, and I just wonder how you plan to deal with that,” the woman said, repeating the debunked conspiracy theory that Sharia, or Islamic law, is a threat to the U.S. judicial system.
“False religions like Islam,” Moore said during his response, “who teach that you must worship this way, are completely opposite with what our First Amendment stands for.”
The First Amendment states, in part, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
You can hear the woman’s question and Moore’s response at the 20:00 mark in the video below.
Corey Saylor, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told HuffPost that Moore “has a long history of extremist attitudes.”
“It is more disappointing that his statement went unchallenged in the room,” Saylor said.
Khaula Hadeed, the executive director of CAIR’s Alabama chapter, said Moore’s comment suggested he doesn’t believe Muslims in Alabama should “have the same rights under the law” as non-Muslims.
Still, she extended Moore an olive branch.
“We invite him to come out and visit a mosque and learn about the Islamic faith,” Hadeed said. “This is the best time for Roy Moore to visit mosque and meet fellow Alabamans and the Muslim constituents he intends to serve as a representative.
“Muslims are a thriving community across Alabama. We wake up every morning to work hard and raise families. We give back in numerous ways. We watch football.
“We’re not ashamed to be Muslims and to share our faith.”
Moore is best known nationally for the two times he was removed from the bench as an Alabama state judge: once for enforcing a ban on same-sex marriage despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing it and once for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument recently installed in an Alabama courthouse.
A poll earlier this month showed Moore with an 8-percentage-point lead over his GOP primary opponents.
Moore’s rivals for the GOP nomination include Rep. Mo Brooks and Luther Strange, who in February was appointed by Alabama’s governor to fill Sessions’ seat on an interim basis. The general election for the Senate seat will be Dec. 12.
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