A Pittsburgh-area lawmaker who made inflammatory comments from the House floor about how Muslims do not believe in Jesus Christ defended the remarks today and insisted that they were taken out of context.
Nonetheless, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe's comments continued to draw rebukes, including from Gov. Rendell and a leader of a national Muslim group at the center of the controversy who called what he said a form of "extremism."
At issue are remarks Metcalfe made yesterday in opposing a resolution recognizing the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a religious organization founded in 1889 that is holding its 60th annual national convention in Harrisburg this weekend.
"The Muslims do not recognize Jesus Christ as God, and I will be voting negative," said Metcalfe (R., Butler), one of the legislature's leading conservative voices, said yesterday from the House floor.
Metcalfe spent much of today conducting interviews in an attempt to fully explain his earlier words, and the media seized on them.
Metcalfe said he rose to oppose the resolution based on a passage in it that equated the group's spiritual leader, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, with William Penn and his desire to "gain love and friendship by a kind, just and peaceable life and to establish a society that was godly, virtuous and exemplary for all of humanity."
"William Penn and the founding fathers believed that Jesus Christ is God, and Muslims do not," Metcalfe said today. "I just stated what was factual. You won't find a Muslim in the world that would say Jesus is God." (MORE)