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National Islamic group calls for McDonnell to disavow Robertson

Rosalind Helderman

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based civil rights group for Muslims, is formally calling on Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell to repudiate recent remarks by McDonnell-donor and longtime ally Pat Robertson, in which the televangelist called Islam a "violent political system" and advocated treating Muslims like communists or fascists.

Robertson's remarks came in response to the Fort Hood shootings during the minister's 700 Club television show last week.

Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman, has declined to comment on Robertson's remarks a couple of times. This evening, he gave us a statement this evening that doesn't address Robertson directly, but does suggest that McDonnell does not share views on Islam.

"The governor-elect has worked closely with Virginia's Muslim community," Martin said. "This community is an important and vital part of Virginia. He respects the Muslim faith and looks forward to continuing to work with Virginia's Muslim community in the years ahead. As governor, he will work with Virginians of all faiths and backgrounds to leave the Commonwealth a better place than we have found it."

McDonnell supporters believe his landslide election victory means Virginians have already decided it is not fair to hold responsible for Robertson's views. But, noting that Robertson gave McDonnell $25,000 in the final weeks of the campaign and attended his victory party Nov. 3, CAIR called on McDonnell today to formally distance himself from Robertson.

"If Gov-elect McDonnell wishes to show that he will be the governor of Virginians of all faiths, he should publicly repudiate Pat Robertson's hate-filled and divisive remarks," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "Anything less is an indication of tacit approval of tacit approval for Robertson's bigoted and un-American views. Such comments evoke McCarthyism and would not be tolerated if they targeted any other religious or ethnic group."

By Rosalind Helderman  |  November 17, 2009; 5:30 PM ET
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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