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7. Rev. Jerry Falwell: I think Muhammad was a terrorist

Citation
Article title: 
7. Rev. Jerry Falwell: I think Muhammad was a terrorist
Year: 
2002
Week: 
41
Article number: 
7
Author: 
Nirmin Fawzi
Text
Article summary: 

American minister Jerry Falwell apologized to Muslims for what he said about Prophet

Muhammad being a terrorist. Some papers believe that Falwell?s statement is part of the campaign against Islām and

shows how Zionism is rooted in American Christianity.

Article full text: 

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

war."


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.?


Al-Akhbar

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

Robertson.


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

public opinion.


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

for Muslims.?


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.?

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