Sheriff Jim Hammond told the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club on Monday that Islam is "communism with a god."
Hammond, who spent three years training police officers in the Middle East and previously served as a chaplain's yeoman in the U.S. Navy, said that Islam is "the strongest infringement that we've had in our country as a constitutional government since communism."
According to Hammond, more than 2,000 mosques or Islamic centers have opened in the U.S. in the last 24 years and he warned that citizens and law enforcement need to be move vigilant about Islamic activities.
He plans to speak with Tennessee sheriffs soon to help monitor activity of Muslims throughout the state. And he wants to meet with education leaders to discuss mentions of Islam and Christianity in textbooks.
After the meeting, he stressed that he was not trying to say all Muslims are dangerous and want to overthrow the U.S. government. But he said enough of them were.
"Even if only 5 percent of the 1.2 billion to 1.5 billion Muslims out there want to perform jihad, that's a lot of people," Hammond said.
Hammond added that the July 16 attack in Chattanooga was definitely Islamic terrorism.
"I can stand up here as your sheriff and say this is Islamic terrorism," Hammond said. "Was he given instructions, I don't know. The FBI might not ever know."