Religious leaders, left-leaning political activists and victims of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York joined Wednesday (May 4) to denounce recent comments Pat Robertson made about the escalating battle over the federal judiciary. MoveOnPAC, a progressive group that provides financial backing to congressional candidates, said it's launching a TV ad campaign repudiating the religious broadcaster's Sunday (May 1) comments on ABC's "This Week." Robertson, who had a brief 1988 GOP presidential bid, told "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos that federal jurists were a more serious threat to America than "a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings" and that Muslims were unfit to hold federal judgeships. "And they have said in the Quran there's a war against all infidels," Robertson said. "Do you want somebody like that sitting as a judge? I wouldn't." In a telephone news conference, the Rev.
Jim Wallis, evangelical editor of Sojourners magazine and the author of "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It," said Robertson's remarks were "irresponsible, extreme and hurtful." He added that Robertson's claims that "all Muslims want to kill us" were particularly destructive to the healing process happening in the Islamic community. Leading Islamic civil rights groups agreed. "Not only is it hurtful, but it is actually inaccurate that all Islam is a monolithic entity," said Arsalan Iftikhar, the national legal director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, also participating in the news conference. "There are over a billion Muslims on Earth." Iftikhar said the American Muslim community is trying to build bridges of tolerance between the United States and the Muslim world. "Inflammatory statements only go towards burning the bridges, not building them," Iftikhar said. (MORE)