The conservative Pompano Beach minister who called Islam “a dangerous and evil cult” says he has had a change of heart and has begun a dialogue with Muslims who share “our American values.”
The Rev. O’Neal Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, has campaigned against a mosque’s planned move to a predominantly black section of the city, deriding Muslims as terrorists. Dozier said Tuesday that he still opposes the mosque’s move but has a newfound relationship with some Muslims.
“After much soul searching and deliberation concerning my previous statements about radical Islam being `a dangerous and evil cult,’ I want to applaud and thank those peace-loving Muslims who share our American values of freedom, tolerance, and human rights,” Dozier said in a news release on Tuesday. Dozier planned a news conference at his church today to announce his position, which he said he reached after talking to other Christian leaders.
Altaf Ali, executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he would attend Dozier’s news conference. Ali said Dozier has the right to oppose anything he wishes but “to prevent a place of worship is the same type of bigotry” African-Americans have faced.
Dozier’s previous comments about Islam prompted Gov. Jeb Bush in July to remove him from the Broward Judicial Nominating Committee. Republican gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist took Dozier off a campaign advisory committee last month.