MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- Tennessee is mentioned more than any other state in a new report released this week concerning the rise of Islamaphobia in the United States.
The study was produced by the influential Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, and is entitled “Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its impact in the United States.”
Tennessee is mentioned no fewer than 55 times in the report. The Franklin based Tennessee Freedom Coalition is singled out for special attention. It’s listed as one of 37 groups nation-wide that CAIR says have “hatred of Islam” as their primary purpose.
The Coalition is also listed as an anti-Muslim group on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map.”
CAIR spokesman Corey Sailor says the Freedom Coalition’s Lou Anne Zelenik and one of her wealthy supports also feature prominently in the study.
“Her rhetoric and her opposition, particularly to a mosque in Murfreesboro was really vile, to be frank. Interestingly enough, she receives money from Andy Miller who is the Nashville based CEO of Healthmark Ventures.“
WMOT News contacted the Tennessee Freedom Coalition Thursday night seeking comment, but hasn’t received a reply.
CAIR says there have been positive developments in Tennessee as well. They note in particular Governor Haslam’s rejection of calls by some conservative groups for him to fire a Muslim member of his administration.
Several Tennessee legislators are also mentioned in CAIR’s Islamophobia report. WMOT News will take a look at that portion of the study on Monday.
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