Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics and, joined with other religious leaders yesterday on CNN’s “TalkBack Live” to discuss televangelist Pat Robertson’s recent remarks when he said Islam’s goal is to “control, dominate and if need be destroy.”

“Ladies and Gentleman, I have taken issue with our esteemed president in regard to his stand in saying Islam is a peaceful religion,” Robertson said on the Feb. 22 broadcast of “700 Club.” “It’s just not. And the Quran makes it very clear, if you see an infidel, you are to kill him.”

Parham was joined by the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, Sayyid Muhammad Syeed, secretary general of the Islamic Society of North America, and Rabbi Marc Gellman of Temple Beth Torah.

Syeed called Robertson’s remarks “verbal terrorism” and said that quoting passages out of context can be damaging to all religions.

Parham repudiated Robertson’s judgment on other religions. Christians should “think more about what Jesus meant when he said, ‘Love you neighbor,'” he said.

“Love your neighbor means that we first understand and attempt to respect them,” Parham said. “It is incumbent upon us to speak about our own religion and give witness to what we hold to be the true and highest values and not engage in a denigration or attack on other religions.”

Parham and Gellman both pointed out that Christianity’s history is not without its own infliction of injustice.

“Every religion goes through difficult times,” Gellman said. For the minority of Muslims who “follow this extremist and fanatical and murderous perversion of the real teachings of their religion,” there must be reform, he said.

Gellman called this “Islam’s time of trial.”

On his Web site,, a Feb. 22 press release contended that “Robertson is bringing to the American people the truth that we must all be aware of—that militant Islam is dedicated to the destruction of America and the killing of Jews and Christians around the world.”

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