CAIR asks McDonnell for more on Robertson, as Connolly weighs in
Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell continues to face calls for him to publicly repudiate donor and ally Pat Robertson today, even after a statement issued Tuesday evening in which his spokesman commented generally about the importance of the Muslim community to Virginia.
A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Wednesday that McDonnell's comment "a good statement as far as it went," but said he did not believe it went far enough in directly disavowing Robertson's remarks.
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for CAIR, said the national group is working with Muslims in Virginia to decide how to proceed on the issue. But he said he continues to believe McDonnell needs to make a clear statement indicating he does not agree with Robertson's stand on Islam. Robertson said last week that Islam is "not a religion" but a "violent political system" and called for Muslims to be treated like communists or members of a fascist party.
"[McDonnell's] sending the message that he wants it both ways--he wants the support of a Muslim-basher. And he wants to work with Virginia Muslims. I think those two things are incompatible," Hooper said.
Meanwhile, the political implications of the Robertson remarks are growing. U.S. Rep Gerry Connolly (D) has put out a statement Wednesday calling on Robertson to apologize for his comments. Connolly said he has heard from hundreds of constituents, both Muslims and others, offended by Robertson's comments, which came in response to the Fort Hood shootings on an episode of the 700 Club last week.
"My feeling is that if public officials don't speak out about this, our silence might be misconstrued," Connolly said. "I, for one, am not going to be silent in the face of that kind of unbridled intolerance."
And does Connolly believe that McDonnell needs to speak out as well?
"I feel as a public official, I have a duty. I have acted on my duty. Other public officials have to take their own counsel," he said.
November 18, 2009; 12:45 PM ET
Categories: Gerald E. Connolly , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman
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