AFP, Nov. 12, 2002
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 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 program on late Monday.
“This is worse than the Nazis,” said the one-time presidential hopeful, who has been highly critical of Islam in the past. “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 criticized 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 criticized 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.”