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Bush again urged to repudiate anti-Muslim hate

Bush again urged to repudiate anti-Muslim hate

A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today again called on President Bush and other elected officials to repudiate anti-Islamic rhetoric, just as American Muslims repudiate anti-Christian or anti-Semitic hate speech.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) made that request following two more in a series of attacks on Islam and Muslims by right-wing and evangelical commentators. (CAIR recently issued a statement opposing anti-Semitism that read in part: “Just as we ask others to condemn anti-Muslim rhetoric”¦we must challenge those who would fan the flames of anti-Semitism.”)

In a November 10 broadcast, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart referred to the Prophet Muhammad as a “sex deviant” and “pervert.” He also called for the expulsion of all foreign Muslim university students in the United States and for profiling of airline passengers “with a diaper on their head and a fan-belt around their waist.” Of American Muslims, Swaggart said: “We ought to tell every other Moslem (sic) living in this nation that if you say one word, you’re gone.”

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CAIR also called on the president to repudiate similar comments made this week by televangelist Pat Robertson describing Muslims as being “worse than the Nazis.” (AFP, Reuters) Robertson has in the past called the Prophet Muhammad “an absolute wild-eyed fanatic,” a “robber” and a “brigand.” He also called Islam “a monumental scam” and claimed the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, “is strictly a theft of Jewish theology.” (A charity created by Robertson, recently received a $500,000 grant under the president’s faith-based initiative.)

In October, evangelical leader Jerry Falwell referred to the Prophet Muhammad as a “terrorist” on the CBS news program “60 Minutes.” At least 10 people died in India during Hindu-Muslim clashes triggered by Falwell’s comments. Franklin Graham, another evangelical leader, has called Islam an “evil and wicked religion.”

These and other attacks on Islam come as the State Department is engaged in a worldwide ad campaign to portray Americans as being free of anti-Muslims bias.

“It is time for the president to step up to the plate on the issue of Islamophobia in America. Merely repeating the mantra that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’ does little to stem the rising tide of anti-Muslim hate or to mitigate the negative impact that hate has on Muslim families,” said CAIR Board Chairman Omar Ahmad.

He said the president’s silence on this issue serves to divide America along religious lines, harms our nation’s image worldwide and hinders the international effort to combat terrorism by alienating allies in the Muslim world.


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