- 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
- 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
- "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
- "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
- "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,"
- 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
- "The idea that you're going to make peace with the
Muslim world by giving them territory is an absolute illusion," he