(TAMPA, FL, 9/6/07) – The Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa) today called on representatives of a local television station and its corporate owner to disassociate themselves from an anti-Semitic and Islamophobic program host.
Last month, CAIR-Tampa sent a letter to Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, the corporate owner of the Florida station (WTTA-TV) that broadcasts “Live Prayer with Bill Keller” asking whether the type of hate rhetoric often used on Keller’s program is appropriate for the public airways. The letter also asked Sinclair Broadcast Group to clarify its policies relating to programming that promotes hatred and bigotry.
SEE: Sinclair Broadcast Group
SEE ALSO: WTTA-TV
In previous broadcasts and in interviews as recent as September 2, Keller has claimed that Jews, Muslims and Mormons are all going to hell.
Video: FL Anti-Muslim TV Host Says Jews, Mormons Going to Hell
Of Islam, Keller said: “Islam is a 1400-year-old lie from the pits of hell. It’s leading a billion peoples [sic] to hell. . .those who follow this false religion will die and be lost for all eternity.” On the same program, he also said, “The false religion of Islam is about hate, lies and death.” Keller also said “burn the Koran.”
To view Keller’s anti-Muslim bigotry, go to: http://www.cairfl.org/video/0705-bill-keller-attacks-islam.wmv
In a September 4 response to CAIR-Tampa’s letter, Sinclair Broadcast Group Vice President and General Counsel Barry M. Faber wrote: “. . .we intend to proceed with the broadcast of the programming as planned. This decision is based on a number of factors, including our respect for the First Amendment and our interest in not censoring points of view with which everyone may not agree.” Faber also said that Keller’s program will be monitored “to ensure it complies with relevant community standards.&rdquo
To read Faber’s letter, go to: http://www.cairfl.org/images/070904-Sinclair-response.pdf
“This is not a matter of First Amendment rights, it is about a person using the public airways to promote anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” said CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier. “Officials of Sinclair Broadcast Group and WTTA should disassociate themselves from Keller’s hate-filled, divisive and intolerant rhetoric.&rdquo
Bedier said that if Keller wishes to spread falsehoods about other faiths, he should move his program to paid cable television so that the extremist religious views he espouses do not receive tacit public support.
Another Florida station, WTOG-TV, recently dropped “Live Prayer with Bill Keller” after the station and its parent company CBS received a letter from and had discussions with CAIR-Tampa officials.
SEE: Televangelist: I Lost My Show Over Muslim Remarks (St. Petersburg Times)
SEE ALSO: Florida TV Station Drops Anti-Islam Program (CAIR)
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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