Given their divergent views from abortion to same-sex unions, Christian televangelist Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani makes them an odd couple. Their alliance is the result of a convergence of their interest in fighting ‘Islamic terrorism.’ This echoes Giuliani’s longstanding description of the war on terror as a war on ‘radical Islamic fascism.’
Giuliani and Robertson are not alone in their belligerent viewpoints. Christian activist Gary Bauer characterizes the fight against ‘radical Islam’ as a major ‘family value’ that tops his new evangelical agenda. Charles Colson of the Prison Fellowship describes ‘Islamofascism’ as the ‘long war’ while James Dobson of Focus on Family exhorts his fellow faithful to ‘wake up’ against ‘militant Islam.’
The point of emphasis for them is on Islam, not terror. Thus, exempt from their ‘war on terror’ are groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army of Uganda, which commits terrorism in the name of Christianity and Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers, a Hindu-Marxist group, which to-date remains one of the largest purveyors of suicide bombings.
The conflating of Islam with terrorism exploits the extant fear and ignorance of Islam. Nearly 4 in 10 Americans admit being prejudiced against Muslims and seventy percent say that Islam has nothing in common with their faith.
Pat Robertson is the latest in a long line of Team Rudy fans that are distinguished by their disdain for Muslims. New York Congressman Peter King, an advisor to Giuliani, bitterly complains ‘unfortunately we have too many mosques in this country.’
Another advisor, Daniel Pipes, questions the wisdom of allowing American Muslims to vote. In his hostility towards Islam and Muslims, Robertson outshines them all. In the past, Robertson has railed against many groups but he has saved his harshest invectives for Muslims. He has called Muslims ‘satanic,’ claimed the Quran is ‘fraudulent’ and said Islam is ‘a monumental scam.’ Robertson also called the Prophet Muhammad ‘an absolute wild-eyed fanatic, a robber and a brigand…a killer.’
Giuliani has exhorted other presidential candidates to adopt his views in the war on terror. The Democrats have resisted but other Republican candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, have obliged. Mitt Romney went a step further and ran television advertisements citing ‘jihadism’ as ‘this century’s nightmare.’ (MORE)
Parvez Ahmed is the chairman of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). He is also an associate professor at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla.