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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Robertson paints Islam with too broad a brush

Television evangelist Pat Robertson needs to step back and take a good look in the mirror.

The evangelical broadcaster, who has in recent months suggested that the U.S. government should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for pulling Israel out of the Gaza Strip, targeted practitioners of Islam during his live "700 Club" television program Monday.

After watching a news segment about radical Islam in Europe, Mr. Robertson said that "the goal of Islam, ladies and gentlemen, whether you like it or not, is world domination." He also characterized the religion as "satanic."

Mr. Robertson paints Islam and its practitioners with too broad a brush. Certainly the violent behavior of many radical Muslims over publication of the cartoon depiction of the prophet Muhammad is contemptible and inexcusable. But one cannot draw conclusions about all believers of a certain faith from the behavior of a relative few.

Take Eric Rudolph as an example. He said his religion —Christianity — led him to bomb Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta on July 27, 1996 and detonate lethal explosive devices at medical clinics and a nightclub in Atlanta and Birmingham.

Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, perpetrators of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City that left more than 160 innocent people dead, were members of the Christian Identity movement, a radical branch of Christianity.

It would be ludicrous to draw conclusions about Christianity from the heinous crimes of extreme radicals like Mr. Rudolph, Mr. Nichols and Mr. McVeigh. And it is similarly ridiculous for Mr. Robertson to lump all Muslims with Islam's extreme fringe.

The frequency of Mr. Robertson's injudicious remarks is especially disturbing. He has apologized for his earlier statements about Mr. Chavez and Mr. Sharon. But his continued remarks tend to fan the flames of global unrest and certainly do not promote peace among the world's religions.

We hope Muslims don't judge all Christians by Mr. Robertson's behavior.

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