Monday, July 25, 2005

The Morning Retch: Crusade Incitement

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Well, this time nobody's gotten blown up or shot, but a pastor in Florida is determined to see what he can stir up.

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- The sign in front of the First Conservative Baptist Church in Mandarin has an eye-catching -- and some say inflammatory --message. "Islam is evil and believes in murder," it reads. "Jesus teaches peace."

Pastor Gene Youngblood, the author of that message, declined our request for an interview. Instead he directed us to a passage in the Qu'ran, the Muslim holy book - Surah 9-29.

But "fight against those who believe not in Allah" is part of a passage that is too easily taken out of context, says Parvez Ahmed, Chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Ahmed says the line refers to an ancient war between Muslims and non-Muslims and that Islamic scholars do not interpret it literally. "People of all religions have taken passages out of context, whether they be Jew, Christian, or Muslim, and used them to justify the unjustifiable," Ahmed said.

Actually it is pretty hard to find any religous tradition that approves of encouraging hatred, but that has never inhibited some of the faithful.

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