Various evangelists have been criticized for making outrageous statements about Islam, and now a Muslim activist has made equally outrageous statements about them. Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) compared the likes of Jerry Falwell and Jimmy Swaggart to Osama bin Laden, wanting to split the world into a holy war and willing to kill Muslims given the chance.
It's the incitement we're talking about, said Mr. Hooper, whose organization has been linked to radical Islamist groups in the Middle East.
It's not Jerry Falwell throwing a hand grenade into a mosque.
Mr. Hooper said his original comment about the evangelical leaders was provoked in an interview with a conservative New York radio show last week. Under questioning by WABC radio's Steve Malzberg, Mr. Hooper said evangelical critics wanted to spark a religious war.
When Mr. Malzberg asked whether the Christian leaders would kill Muslims as bin Laden urges Muslims to kill Jews and Christians, Mr. Hooper said:
Given the right circumstance, these guys would do the same in the opposite direction.
Hooper's organisation is known for demanding apoogies from those who have slighted Islam, but if he was expecting the same demands be made of him, he'll be disappointed. The offending comments by evangelists, including Jimmy Swaggart's demand that all Muslim students with visas be expelled from the US, provoked a strange statement from George W. Bush:
Ours is a country based upon tolerance [and] we're not going to let the war on terror or terrorists cause us to change our values. Muslim activist won't apologize to evangelists—Washington Times, November 22nd 2002. Steve Malzberg's web site, where there is apparently a transcript of the interview, but I can't find it.