On Veterans Day, Tennessee state Rep. Rick Womick (R) told ThinkProgress in an interview that all Muslims should be purged from the military and that Muslims pray to “a false God.” In a subsequent interview with a Tennessee paper, Womick reaffirmed his discriminatory remarks. “The only solution I see is that they not be allowed in the military,” he argued.
Womick made those comments to reporters while he was attending the anti-Muslim “Preserving Freedom Conference” in Nashville. (Recall, this was the same conference featuring Frank Gaffney that was kicked out of its original venue.)
ThinkProgress has obtained footage from Womick’s remarks at the conference, where he reaffirmed for at least the third separate time that he wanted all Muslims out of the military. When Womick said “we cannot have Muslims in our military because we cannot trust them,” the crowd of approximately 150 delivered a rousing standing ovation. Watch a short compilation:
Womick has since refused to apologize for his hate rhetoric, despite being given numerous opportunities to do so. Local and national Muslims are calling for the general assembly to rebuke him. Gov. Bill Haslam (R) said he disagreed with Womick but said it wasn’t his role to denounce the comments. Most Republicans are refusing to comment.
In a terse editorial today, the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal writes that the state GOP’s silence “speaks volumes about Tennessee’s political leadership and, if allowed to continue unchallenged, will say even more about the people who vote them into office.” The paper adds, “This is discrimination at its worst, no different than what America did to black Americans in treating them as second-class citizens. Will Womick try next to take away Muslim voting rights?”
In Fear, Inc. — our exposé of the Islamophobia network in America — we wrote, “Our nation needs more responsible conservatives to stand side by side with progressives to safeguard our national security and uphold America’s core values of religious freedom and respect for ethnic diversity.” It seems harder and harder to find such conservatives.