Asharq al-Awsat reports that American conservative
Baptist minister Jerry Falwell apologized to Muslims for what he said about Prophet Muhammad being ?a terrorist.?
Falwell stated to ?60 Minutes,? a TV program broadcasted by the CBS channel, ?I think Muhammad was a terrorist.? He
added: ?I concluded from reading Muslim and non-Muslim writers that Muhammad was a violent man, a man of
In his apology, Falwell said: ?Unfortunately, I answered a controversial question. It would have
been better if I had not answered it. But that was a mistake and I should now apologize.?
believes that this is a ?deficient? apology. This is so because Falwell has not renounced his extremist opinions about
Islam and Prophet Muhammad, which are still shown on his Internet site. He just said: ?I did not mean to offend honest
Muslims who abide by the law [It is not clear from the Arabic what law he means, probably civil law].?
Al-Akhbar adds that the Washington Post has harshly criticized President Bush for the fact that he has
turned a blind eye on the ?terrible, anti-Islām? statements made by reverends Falwell, Franklin Graham and Pat
Al-Ahrar elaborates on that point. It reports that despite the great anger of Muslims,
the official spokesman of the White House, Ari Flesher, has refused to criticize some prominent Christian pastors who
offended Islām. Answering a question concerning the stand of President Bush toward such statements, Flesher says: ?
President Bush has declared in many occasions and in many of his meetings with Muslim leaders in mosques that Islām is
a religion of peace.? ?This is an important statement which shows that the American society is open for Muslims and
welcomes them,? Flesher observes.
According to al-Usboa, Falwell?s ?rude? statements against Islām
show how much Zionism is rooted in American Christianity. Falwell said before: ?Nothing more than abandoning Israel
can make 70 million [American] Christians angry with the government.? In addition, He criticized Bush for asking
Israel to withdraw its forces from the Palestinian territories.
Falwell also published a book titled
?Disclosing the Reality of Islām.? In this book, he mocks the Islamic teachings. He writes: ?Islam is a religion that
aims at either controlling others or destroying them.? He further observes: ?The Muslim who commits violence is simply
following the example of Muhammad.?
Al-Usboa also considers Falwell?s statement part of a campaign
against Islām. Under the title ?The campaign against Islām is on its peak,? al-Usboa observes that Falwell?s statement
is not the first of its kind, especially after the attacks of September 11.
The paper approaches many
intellectuals, asking them their opinions concerning how to face such campaign against Islām. Dr. Gihan Rushti, dean
of the Faculty of Mass Communications, believes that American Muslims, good written materials and documentary films on
Islam can help change the image America and the West in general have of Islām. She criticizes the role Arabic
satellites play to defend Islām. ?The material these satellites introduce is in the Arabic language - Which means that
we talk to ourselves,? she says. She asks for a TV channel in English, so that it can approach the international
Dr. Rashad Khalil, dean of the Faculty of Shari?a, also stresses the role of the
media. He believes that today?s war is a media war and not a military war. ?We should carry out a counter campaign to
show that Islām acknowledges civil and political freedoms,? he observes. Ambassador Ibrahim Yusari, however, does not
think that the solution is in the hands of the media. ?The solution is not in establishing a new satellite channel. We
cannot brainwash the world public opinion as America does. The solution is in the hands of Islamic regimes. Muslims
should understand that the totalitarian ruling has led to their failure.?
Under the title ?The
most famous American minister says Muhammad was a terrorist,? Sout al-Ummah writes about the demonstrations erupted in
75 Islamic countries against Falwell?s statement. It also quotes the comments of prominent figures, such as, the
Malaysian prime minister, the Iranian foreign minister, the British secretary of state and officials of the Islamic
community in North America and the Committee of Combating Anti-Semitism.
The Malaysian prime
minister asked his people not to care about what Falwell said. He said: ?People who give such statements are ignorant
of Islām and its Prophet?they do not understand Islām?as a man of religion, Falwell should not have said such words.
However, I will not blame all Christians for what he said.? The prime minister asked Falwell to study Islām more
profoundly. The Iranian foreign minister said that Falwell?s statement is an incitement on war among civilizations.
The British secretary of state said: ?Falwell?s statement is offensive and insulting for me as a Christian, as it is
The official spokesman of the Islamic community in North America said: ?Such attacks
on Islām and the Prophet reflect not only a complete ignorance of the [Islamic] history but also the paranoia [some
Christian] leaders suffer from. They perceive Islām as a problem in the USA as about 7 million [Americans] believe in
it.? An official of the Committee of Combating Anti- Semitism stated to the Washington Times: ?This is not the first
time Falwell shows how intolerant he is by attacking Prophet Muhammad in this provocative way. That is why he should
apologize to millions of good people who believe in Islām.?