Interfaith Alliance denounces
congressman's anti-Muslim remarks
Washington, Feb. 13, 2004 - The Interfaith Alliance, the nation's largest interfaith organization, today denounced the anti-Muslim remarks by Rep. Peter King (R-NY), which were broadcast on a live national radio show earlier this week. In a letter to the congressman, the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy also offered to convene a reconciliation meeting for Rep. King to dialogue with Muslim, Jewish, and Christian religious leaders.
"I was both shocked and saddened to learn of your biased, inflammatory remarks against American Muslims," Dr. Gaddy said. "Your statements have caused great concern in the interfaith community and . . . .have shown a shocking lack of understanding of approximately 7,000,000 Muslim Americans, including many who live in your district."
On the Sean Hannity show, Rep. King said that no Muslim in America has assisted law enforcement in the fight on terrorism; that "extremists" control 85 percent of the mosques in America; that 85 percent of Islamic religious leaders are "the enemy living amongst us;" and that he has been "walled out" when he has tried to talk with them.
"I can't help but wonder if you actually believe those outrageous statements or if you got carried away in the moment promoting your novel," Dr. Gaddy said.
Dr. Gaddy noted that the president and other political and religious leaders have called on Americans to refrain from religious bigotry against Islam and to stand together against terrorism. He said that Rep. King, in contrast, was not only wrong in his assessments, but that he had attempted to defame one of the world's great religion and its followers.
"The Interfaith Alliance-an organization committed to promoting the healing role of religion in the life of the nation-stands ready to help bridge any possible chasms of communication between you and a large number of your constituents," Dr. Gaddy said. "I invite you to join me in a meeting of
reconciliation with leaders of the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities" on the Hannity show where "perhaps together we can heal some of the wounds caused by your actions."