Muslims 'Are Worse Than
The Nazis' - Pat Robertson


WASHINGTON (AFP) -- A popular US televangelist's accusation that Muslims are "worse than the Nazis" and call for Jews to wake up to the threat drew fire on Tuesday from a leading American-Islamic group which warned the comments could spark violence.
In his remarks, Christian preacher and conservative commentator Pat Robertson also denounced Middle East peace efforts as "an absolute illusion" and accused a senior US diplomat of harbouring anti-Israel views.
The one-time presidential hopeful, who has been highly critical of Islam in the past, said Muslims were bent on exterminating Jews, citing select passages from the Koran that liken Jews to apes and pigs.
"Somehow I wish the Jews in America would wake up, open their eyes and read what is being said about them," Robertson told viewers of his Christian Broadcasting Network news programme late Monday.
"This is worse than the Nazis," he said. "Adolf Hitler was bad, but what the Muslims want to do to the Jews is worse."
Robertson, whose previous anti-Islam comments have been denounced by Jewish and Muslims groups alike, said those who criticised him - whom he termed "so-called doves" - did not understand the situation.
"If I say something that Islam is, you know, an erroneous religion, then I get criticised by the Anti-Defamation League," he said, referring to the prominent US-based Jewish advocacy group.
"You just want to say: `When are you going to open your eyes and see who your enemy is.' Those people want to destroy Jews," Robertson said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Tuesday denounced Robertson's remarks as "lies, distortions and outright bigotry."
"It's a shame coming from someone who claims to be a man of the cloth," said Hodan Hassan, a spokeswoman for the group.
"He is doing a lot more to increase tensions and maybe violence among different ethnicities and religions than sowing the seeds of peace," she said, maintaining that Robertson was using two passages from the Koran "deceitfully."
"It's outlandish and a total distortion," Hassan said, noting that the Koran contains numerous calls for inter-faith harmony and demands respect for other religions.
Because Christian Broadcasting Network programming is broadcast in more than 180 countries around the world, she said the US State Department should for "consistency's sake" voice concern about Robertson's latest remarks.
Last week, the department said it had expressed reservations to Egyptian authorities about a television series airing there that draws on the anti-Semitic tract "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."
"Our community is also hurt by hate speech," Hassan said. Robertson's comments were just the latest in a string of anti-Islamic remarks from prominent US conservative Christians in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Last month, Baptist minister Jerry Falwell called the Prophet Mohammed "a terrorist," sparking international outrage and deadly riots in the Indian city of Bombay. Falwell later apologised.
Franklin Graham, son of the noted preacher Billy Graham, has also been accused of making defamatory statements about Islam.
Robertson, however, went beyond criticising Islam in the Monday broadcast, suggesting that alleged Muslim duplicity undermined the entire foundation of land-for-peace basis of efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"The idea that you're going to make peace with the Muslim world by giving them territory is an absolute illusion," he said.


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