His apology notwithstanding, televangelist Pat Robertson’s call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has tarnished America’s image abroad, many Ohio religious leaders and scholars said.

“Those of us of the Christian faith adamantly and completely reject the suggestion that leaders of foreign countries should be assassinated,” said Alvin R. Hadley, executive director of the Columbus Metropolitan Area Church Council.

Robertson’s remarks included an assertion that Venezuela is “a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.”

Ahmad Al-Akhras, executive director of the Ohio Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, sees a double standard at work.

“We are demanding for other countries to denounce their fringe religious leaders and not to propagate this kind of rhetoric,” he said.

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