In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(TAMPA, FL, 8/24/07) – The Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa) announced today that a local television station has dropped a program that promoted hatred of Islam and Muslims.
CAIR-Tampa said WTOG-TV (CW 44) dropped “Live Prayer with Bill Keller” after the station and its parent company CBS received a letter from and had discussions with the Islamic civil rights and advocacy group.
Keller told the St. Petersburg Times: “Ultimately, it was pressure by CAIR that intimidated these people into taking me off the air. It was not mutually agreeable. They told me they were taking me off the air, period.”
SEE: Televangelist: I Lost My Show Over Muslim Remarks (St. Petersburg Times)
In its letter to CBS President Tom Kane and WTOG-TV’s general manager, CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier wrote:
“In the hate-filled program, ”˜Live Prayer with Bill Keller,’ Islam and Muslims are referred to in the most vicious and bigoted of terms. For example on May 2, 2007, host Bill 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.’
“It is our belief that anti-Islamic rhetoric like that used in ”˜Live Prayer with Bill Keller’ is exactly the type of language that is likely to incite hate crimes against the American Muslim community.”
To view examples of Bill Keller’s Anti-Muslim Bigotry, go to:
“While we strongly support freedom of speech and religion, the public airwaves should not be used to promote hatred and bigotry,” Bedier said today. “We commend WTOG-TV and CBS for rejecting any association with those who would demonize a minority group.”
Bedier noted that a Muslim family’s home in Sarasota, Fla., was recently torched by arsonists who spray-painted Islamophobic slurs on the walls.
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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CONTACT: CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier, 813-731-9506, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com