Muslims Demand Apology from Prominent Televangelist

Category: Faith & Spirituality Topics: Christianity Views: 839

Muslim Americans, outraged by disparaging comments Christian televangelist Jerry Falwell made about Islam in a recent online interview, publicly demanded an apology Thursday.

During an interview with an online publication, Falwell maligned Islam as a faith that "teaches hate" and suggested that Muslim groups be disqualified from seeking federal funds.

"I think the Moslem faith teaches hate. I think there's clear evidence that the Islam [sic] religion, wherever it has majority control--and I can name a dozen countries--doesn't even allow people of other faiths to express themselves or evangelize or to exist in their presence...I think that when persons are clearly bigoted towards other persons in the human family, they should be disqualified from funds. For that reason, Islam should be out the door before they knock," said Falwell in an interview with Beliefnet.

"In a typical gesture of intolerance, Falwell is advocating the exclusion of six million Americans from partnering with their government to combat the social ills plaguing their society," said Salam Al-Marayati, Executive Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. "Falwell's attempts to spread intolerance and misinformation threaten American pluralism and recommend a policy direction that is clearly unconstitutional."

Falwell has since backed down from his comments and said in a Wednesday interview with USA Today that his remarks were aimed at Islamic political states such as Iran and Iraq, and not at American Muslims.

"Most American mosques and most individual Muslims are people of love who would hold no bigotry toward anyone. But I did say (to Beliefnet) anyone who steps up to the door bearing any bigotry toward any human being should be disqualified (for federal funding for social services)," Falwell said to USA Today.

But Muslims say they are not satisfied with Falwell's latest remarks.

In a letter faxed to Falwell's office at Liberty University, Omar Ahmad, chairman of the Council on American Islamic Relations asked Falwell to apologize for his offensive remarks.

"The dissemination of distorted or inaccurate information has a negative impact on the lives of ordinary American Muslims and serves to mislead people of other faiths. In fact, these offensive remarks are symptomatic of the very intolerance that you claim Islam promotes. No faith would accept being excluded from productive participation in our society based on such falsehoods," wrote Ahmad.

A spokesperson for Falwell told he was in New York conducting a funeral Thursday and was unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, other religious leaders are condemning Falwell's remarks, saying this was the beginning of more problems to come.

"This should be a wake-up call to President Bush that his program is dividing the nation along religious lines with churches, synagogues and mosques squabbling over who should get funds and who not," said Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism to USA Today.

  Category: Faith & Spirituality
  Topics: Christianity
Views: 839

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