Republican Mayoral Candidate in Oklahoma Calls for Islam to Be 'Eradicated'

Republican Oklahoma City mayoral candidate Carol Hefner proclaimed during a debate that she thinks Islam should be "eradicated" from the globe.

Hefner defended her past Islamophobic social media posts during the debate, as well. The candidate had previously called Islam "an evil culture and not a religion," debate moderator Storme Jones pointed out. Hefner responded by doubling down, saying the "insipid" religion must come to an end.

"Yes, [Muslim culture] is a very negative culture," Hefner said. "And it does things that are oppressive and I don't agree with that. It's just like slavery. Don't agree with that. It's insipid, it should be eradicated from our culture, from our world and unfortunately, it has been here since the beginning of time."

"I personally don't know how I'm going to get rid of it, but I would like to have those conversations," she added. "I would like to sit down and have healing conversations... it's very important to me that we heal our community."

Over 30,000 Muslims live in Oklahoma, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma (CAIR OK).

Later explaining her comments, Hefner said, "I was talking about the opportunities here and how it differs here because we don't have that hate and oppression and people can rise and I want to offer that opportunity to everybody."

Hefner, who was the co-chair of former President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign in Oklahoma and also a former fundraiser for the Republican Party, has a history of prejudiced social media posts.

In 2015, she shared a news article on Facebook about protesters in Oklahoma meeting then-President Barack Obama with Confederate flags. "This happened - love it," she wrote above the story. The Confederate flag is widely understood as a symbol of anti-Black racism.

Carol Hefner Oklahoma mayor Muslims eradicated Islamophobia
Republican Oklahoma City mayoral candidate Carol Hefner recently said that she thinks Islam should be "eradicated" from the globe. In this photo, Muslim demonstrators take part in a protest against growing Islamophobia, white supremacy, and anti-immigrant bigotry following the attacks at Christchurch New Zealand on March 24, 2019, in New York City. Johannes Eisele / AFP/Getty

In 2014, she wrote on Facebook: "Blacks have perpetrated and promoted slavery on their own for generations." She later said that she was commenting on the fact that non-white people historically continue U.S. slavery.

Dr. Imam Imad Enchassi, the senior imam for the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City warned of the magnitude of Hefner's comments. "She is talking about 1.9 billion Muslims. When she used the word 'eradicated' she is talking about eradicating 1.9 billion Muslims," he told Oklahoma City news station KWTV. "Those comments are more than problematic those comments are plain dangerous and Islamophobic, to say the least."

Enchassi and Adam Soltani, the executive director for CAIR-OK, told KWTV that they offered to talk to Hefner. Hefner reportedly said she would welcome such a talk, the news station reported.

She told the news station of Enchassi and Soltani, "I think that they took it personally and they were looking for a reason to not like my comment."

Hefner is a 60-year-old real estate developer who has never held an elected office. She launched an unsuccessful bid for her state senate in 2011.

In her current campaign, she said that Oklahoma City is overrun with crime and homeless people who have been bussed in from California. She made this unfounded claim, she said, based on informal conversations she said she had with nearly 100 local homeless people.

Nearly 75 percent of Oklahoma City's homeless residents are from Oklahoma, according to the Homeless Alliance, a city-based nonprofit.

Hefner has also claimed that medical professionals aren't sure that face masks and vaccines prevent the spread of COVID-19. That is untrue.

The Oklahoma City mayoral election is on February 8. The candidates will face off against the current mayor, moderate Republican David Holt. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, the two most popular candidates will compete in an April 5 runoff election.