SACRAMENTO (AP) - Sacramento-area Muslims are asking for an apology from the mayor of Redding, who said some Muslims find it acceptable to lie, cheat and murder.
During an event last week commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mayor Ken Murray said Shiite Muslims believe they "are duty-bound by religious law to lie, cheat, steal, kill all who do not worship
their version of Allah."
"Folks, they're not like us," he told those who attended an annual remembrance vigil on the steps of the Shasta County Courthouse, in the city about 160 miles north of Sacramento. His comments were reported by the Redding Record Searchlight.
In a statement given Monday to The Associated Press, Murray acknowledged making those statements but said he was "wrong" when he attributed criminal behavior to Shiites.
He said he was referring instead to the Wahhabi sect -- a brand of Islam most prevalent in Saudi Arabia and practiced by Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.
"At no time did I say all Muslims are bad folks," Murray said in his statement.
He said his intention was to address "the secular and religious wars our Judeo-Christian nation is fighting."
On Monday, the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations asked for Murray to apologize.
The mayor needs to demonstrate "a willingness to show people that he will bring about unity and tolerance," said Basim Elkarra, the nonprofit group's executive director.
"We're asking government officials who were present to distance themselves from these xenophobic comments," he added.
Murray said he did not plan to directly respond to the group.