A state representative from Tennessee has caused controversy with his remarks on all Muslims being removed from the U.S. military according to a report by Gannett News Service on Monday. In an interview given to thinkprogress.com on the sidelines of an anti-Sharia conference in Nashville over the weekend, State Rep. Rick Womick said he didn’t trust any Muslims in the American military. "If they truly are a devout Muslim and follow the Quran and the Sunnah, then I feel threatened because they're commanded to kill me,” he is quoted as saying. Despite the string of outrage and condemnation his remarks received, Womick says he stands by what he said and refused to apology when contacted by The Daily News Journal.
“Who are we at war with?” Womick said. “We are at war with al-Qaida and the Taliban, who are Muslims. It's a Catch-22. They are not allowed to kill their fellow Muslims; we’re at war with Muslims. The only solution I see is that they not be allowed in the military.”A leading Muslim group, The Council on American-Islamic Relations, has called for Womick to be rebuked by Tennessee officials and for the Republican party to repudiate his comments for being “un-American”. However, Womick dismissed CAIR’s statements, saying the group was a radical Islamic one.Saleh Sbenaty of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, said that Womick was just as extreme as al-Qaeda, according to the report by Gannett News Service. "Al-Qaeda doesn’t believe in freedom of religion …They want to rule the world according to their views. And Womick wants to rule the United States according to his narrow vision,” he was quoted in the report as saying.Sbenaty also said that Womick needed to be reminded about the thousands of Muslims serving in the army who “gave up their lives to preserve the freedom of this country and the freedom that he is enjoying.”According to the website Muslims for a Safe America between 5,000 to 20,000 Muslims of 1.4 million personnel in the military are Muslims.Sbenaty expressed concerns that Womick’s remarks could threaten the safety of his congregation.Last year, equipment for a new mosque was set on fire while the group also received a bomb threat ahead of the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. "We had to cancel a kids’ play and the weekend school because of the bomb threat," said Sbenaty, who told Gannett News Service that “Womick should be held accountable for his remarks.”