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CNN Access

Robertson: Jihad at heart of Islam

Editor's Note: CNN Access is a regular feature on CNN.com providing interviews with newsmakers from around the world.

Robertson
Robertson

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(CNN) -- Conservative minister Pat Robertson has stirred controversy recently with comments about Islam -- that he wishes President Bush had never called Islam a religion of peace and that the Koran incites its followers to kill people of other faiths. He spoke with CNN anchor Martin Savidge Tuesday from his headquarters in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Savidge started the interview by airing a clip from Bush: "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace."

SAVIDGE: Now, for the purpose of our discussion, sir, let me ask you this: Is it that you disagree with the president speaking out in defense of Islam, or that you don't agree that Islam is a religion of peace?

ROBERTSON: ... I'm very familiar with what goes on in the Islamic world, where our reporters are all over that area, and it's clear from the teachings of the Koran and also from the history of Islam that it's anything but peaceful.

Now, there are millions of Muslims who are very peaceful people, and I just think there was a semantic difference here, and it's led to a great deal of confusion. Of course there are peace-loving Muslims. But at the same time, at the core of this religion ... is jihad, and it is to subject the unbelievers -- either to force conversion or death. That's what it teaches.

SAVIDGE: But my point, sir: Were you disagreeing with the president speaking on this subject, or is it that you just find that Islam is not a peaceful way?

ROBERTSON: I'm a person that just likes to speak the truth, and I don't understand why in America it's such a big deal that we won't read the Koran and we won't look at history.

SAVIDGE: But someone might point out and say that the Bible itself is filled with stories that account violence or incite violence.

ROBERTSON: Well, it's not true. Jesus Christ is a prince of peace. He told us to live in peace. He told us to love our enemies. He told us to do good to them that spitefully use us. Mohammed [Islam's founder] said kill the unbelievers. He said that the Jews .. are the descendants of apes and pigs. That's being taught all over the Muslim world right now -- hatred.

SAVIDGE: There are people who have taken the very fine words, say of the Bible or the Koran, and have twisted it to fit their own violent ways. That has been done in Christianity as much as it's been done in Islam.

ROBERTSON: Have you ever read any of the excerpts of the Koran?

SAVIDGE: I have, sir.

ROBERTSON: Well, you know very well what it says. There's no question that jihad historically means war. Right now, a fatwa has been issued against some reporter in Nigeria who suggested that Mohammed may have been favorable toward Miss Universe.

SAVIDGE: The fatwa was issued by a human being, not by someone on high.

ROBERTSON: Well, I don't understand what you're trying to say. I mean this is really confusing to me because I'm not against Islam. I have very peaceful relations with many people who hold to Islam. I just think that America had better wake up -- and especially the Jews. They want to kill the Jews and they also consider America the great Satan and they want to kill us. It's just that simple.

SAVIDGE: What I would like to know, though, is whether you believe it's the interpretation [of Islam] by those people here, or whether it is the religion itself that is at fault?

ROBERTSON: It's been what you call the religion. If you look at the Koran, which is the foundational doctrine, if you consider that Mohammed is the prophet of Allah, you look at what he said, what he instructed his followers to do and then what they did for 1,400 years of unrelenting warfare against Europe and the Christian world, then you begin to say, "Well, this is the way they are." It's not a question of interpretation. Look at history.

SAVIDGE: The Crusades were also carried out in the same part of the world in which countless people were killed under the name of Christianity.

ROBERTSON: I hate to tell you [that] right now in Sudan about [2.5 million] people have been slaughtered by an Islamic regime in the north. They're being bombed as we speak. ...The same thing happened in Nigeria where thousands of people were slaughtered by Islamic people. This is going on in the Philippines. It's going on in Indonesia. It's going on in other parts of the world right now.

SAVIDGE: And there are Christians that are also burning mosques as well.

ROBERTSON: No, they're not. Come off it. You know better than that. Christianity is a peaceful religion, and we're out to talk about peace. And I ran a television station that promoted peace between Muslims, Christians and Jews in the Middle East for 18 years, and I'm an advocate of peace, period. Thank you.



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