MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- In a new report on Islamophobia in the U.S. by the influential Council on American-Islamic Relations, Tennessee is mentioned more than any other state in the nation.
The report, released late last week, is entitled “Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its impact in the United States.”
A number of prominent Tennessee politicians are highlighted in the report. Murfreesboro Republican State Senator Bill Ketron and Tullahoma GOP State Rep. Judd Matheny were singled out for their sponsorship of a piece of 2011 legislation that CAIR says was written to vilify “the entire religious tradition of Islam.”
Tenn. Governor Bill Haslam was singled out for praise by CAIR spokesman Corey Sailor. Haslam refused to fire a Muslim staff member as at least three county-level Republican party committees urged him to do.
“And he didn’t bow to that pressure. He stood up to it and kept the Muslim in her place, which was entirely appropriate. It’s about qualifications; it’s never about somebody’s particular faith.”
Sailor says Islamophobia has become a lucrative enterprise. The report states that 37 anti-Muslim groups raised about $119 million between 2008 and 2011.