Prospective US Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has been urged to reconsider his acceptance of the endorsement of a controversial televangelist known for scathing attacks on Muslims and Islam.
In a news release on his campaign website, Giuliani is quoted as saying he is "encouraged" by the endorsement of Pat Robertson, chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN). "His experience and advice will be a great asset to me and my campaign," said Giuliani.
However CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, yesterday urged that the endorsement be rejected.
In 2002, President Bush repudiated rhetorical attacks on Islam by some evangelical leaders. Media reports at the time said the president's remarks were prompted by attacks on Islam, particularly those of Pat Robertson, who said that Muslims were "worse than the Nazis."
Bush said: "Some of the comments that have been uttered about Islam do not reflect the sentiments of my government or the sentiments of most Americans."
Then Secretary of State Colin Powell echoed the president's remarks when he told a State Department audience, "This kind of hatred must be rejected." The director of the American Jewish Committee called Robertson's "Nazi" comment "outrageous."
On his "700 Club" program, Robertson has called Muslims "satanic," claimed the Quran, Islam's revealed text, is "fraudulent" and said Islam is "a monumental scam." Robertson also called the Prophet Muhammad "an absolute wild-eyed fanatic, a robber and a brigand...a killer" and said the goal of Islam was "world domination."
He called Islam the "religion of the slavers," claimed Americans who convert to Islam exhibit "insanity" and said he would be wary of appointing Muslims to positions in the U.S. government, including judgeships.
In announcing his endorsement of Giuliani, Robertson referred to the "bloodlust of Islamic terrorists."
"It is truly disturbing that a presidential candidate of any party would accept the endorsement and seek the advice of a person with such a clear record of anti-Muslim bigotry," said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.