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Falwell Calls Muhammad "Terrorist"

Explaining his support to Israel, noted Baptist bigot comdemns founder of Islam as "terrorist." Mainstream Christian leaders silent.

The New York Times
4 October 2002

The Rev. Jerry Falwell said, "I think Muhammad was a
terrorist," in an interview to be broadcast Sunday on the CBS program "60 Minutes."

Mr. Falwell, a conservative Baptist, said in the interview that he had concluded from reading Muslim and non-Muslim writers that Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, "was violent man, a man of war." CBS released a partial transcript of the interview today.

Mr. Falwell's comments occur in a segment about conservative Christian Americans' political support for Israel.

Today, Mr. Falwell said he was asked in the interview whether he considered Muhammad a terrorist, and he tried to reply honestly. He said he would never state his opinion in a sermon or book.

"I've said often and many places that most Muslims are people of peace and want peace and tranquillity for their families and abhor terrorism," Mr. Falwell said.

"Islam, like most faiths, has a fringe of radicals who carry on bloodshed wherever they are. They do not
represent Islam."

Other conservative Protestant clergymen, including Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son and successor, and the television evangelist Pat Robertson, have been sharply critical of Islam and Muhammad in the past year.

Last year, Mr. Falwell said that abortionists, feminists
and gays had brought God's wrath upon the United States in the Sept. 11 attacks. He later apologized.

In response, Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on
American-Islamic Relation in Washington, said his organization was concerned about "the lack of reaction by mainstream religious and political leaders, who say nothing when these bigots voice these attacks."



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