Responding to a demand for apology from a Muslim lobby group, radio commentator Paul Harvey issued a conciliatory statement yesterday suggesting “Islam is a religion of peace.”
In a statement after yesterday’s broadcast, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said: “We would like to thank all those who took the time to speak out in defense of Islam. Once again, we see that positive actions bring positive results.”
Awad also offered to arrange a meeting between Harvey and American Muslim leaders to “begin a dialogue on issues related to Islam.”
As WorldNetDaily reported, CAIR’s chairman of the board, Omar Ahmad, was cited by a California newspaper in 1998 declaring the Quran should be America’s highest authority.
Ahmad also was reported to have said Islam is not in America to be equal to any other religion but to be dominant. Three former CAIR employees have been arrested in the past 12 months in connection with investigations related to terrorism.
Harvey’s statement, which did not offer an explicit apology, was presented by a fill-in for his noon show, Doug Limerick.
About two-thirds through the 15- minute broadcast, Limerick said:
Last week [Harvey] told you about bloody cockfights in Iraq and mentioned the relationship between Islam and violence. He says he received several letters from dear friends in the American Muslim community who expressed their disgust with those who have hijacked their religion to achieve their goal through violence. They reminded all of us that Islam is a religion of peace, that terrorists do not represent Islam.
During his noon broadcast last Thursday, Harvey described the bloody nature of cockfight gambling in Iraq, stating: “Add to the thirst for blood a religion which encourages killing, and it is entirely understandable if Americans came to this bloody party unprepared.”
The comments from both broadcasts can be heard on Harvey’s website. The remarks during the Thursday noon broadcast begin at the 8:25 mark. The section begins at 6:53.
Harvey has 24 million weekly listeners on about 1,600 radio stations worldwide.
His office in Chicago has not responded to WND’s request for comment.
As WorldNetDaily reported, last month CAIR demanded an apology from radio counselor Dr. Laura Schlessinger for an alleged “anti-Muslim tirade” on her program. Schlessinger, however, told her listeners no apology was necessary, and said, “It’s absurd that anyone would even imagine that I was expressing disdain for everyone who is a Muslim or who is an Arab.”
Last week, CAIR filed a $2 million lawsuit against U.S. Rep. Cass Ballenger, R-N.C., for asserting in a newspaper interview CAIR raises funds for terror groups.
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper insisted Islam’s holy book, the Quran, proves Harvey’s statement Islam “encourages killing” is false.
“We had hoped that a respected broadcast professional like Mr. Harvey would not join the growing number of Islamophobic hate-mongers in our society,” Hooper said last week. “He falsely attributes to Islam two things that are specifically prohibited by our faith, murder and cruelty to animals.”
Hooper added Islam also prohibits gambling.
He argued Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, said one of the greatest sins is “to murder a human being.” Also, Muhammad spoke against animal cruelty, noting a woman was punished by Allah because she did not provide a cat with food and water.
Hooper cited the Quran, which says: “There is no beast that walks on earth and no bird that flies on its two wings that is not Allah’s creature. Unto their Sustainer shall they [all] be gathered.”
In 1999, CAIR organized a campaign that led to Harvey issuing an on-air apology to Muslims for remarks that seemed to suggest Islam was a “fraudulent religion.”
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