(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/25/05) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) tonight applauded the decision of a North Carolina Baptist pastor to apologize for an anti-Muslim sign displayed outside his Forest City church. Until today, Danieltown Baptist Church Pastor Rev. Creighton Lovelace refused calls to take down the sign, reading “The Koran needs to be flushed,” posted in front of his church. CAIR reacted to the controversy yesterday by calling on mainstream religious and political leaders to repudiate the sign’s bigoted message. The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group also urged Americans of all faiths to obtain and read a free Quran available through CAIR’s new “Explore the Quran” campaign. Several thousand people have already taken advantage of CAIR’s offer. SEE: http://www.cair-net.org/explorethequran/
In today’s apology, Lovelace said in part: “When I posted the sign in front of the church, it was my intent only to affirm and exalt the Bible and its teachings. It was certainly not my intent to insult any people of faith, but instead to remind the people in this community of the preeminence of God’s Word. “When I posted the message on the sign, I did not realize how people of the Muslim faith view the Koran-that devoted Muslims view it more highly than many in the U.S. view the Bible. “Now I realize how offensive this is to them, and after praying about it, I have chosen to remove the sign. I apologize for posting that message and deeply regret that it has offended so many in the Muslim community.” In an earlier statement sent to CAIR, Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee, condemned the message on the sign and called for “respectful” relations with American Muslims.
“We thank Pastor Lovelace for his apology and hope this incident will serve to improve relations between Christians and Muslims in North Carolina and throughout America,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. Awad suggested that American churches and mosques host Muslim-Christian dialogues on Jesus, who is revered by both faiths. CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 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.
To read CAIR’s Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About
The council in America’s largest civil liberties group, with 31 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. To read CAIR’s mission and vision statement, go to http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About
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