February 22, 2002

NORFOLK, Virginia (AP) - Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson drew criticism Friday from Arab-Americans and others for describing Islam as a violent religion that wants to ``dominate and then, if need be, destroy.''

Roberston made the comment Thursday on his ''700 Club'' television program after watching a segment about Muslims' views on terrorism.

Co-host Lee Webb asked Robertson why he thought Muslim immigrants would want to live in the United States ``if they have such contempt for our foreign policy.''

Robertson replied: ``Well, as missionaries possibly to spread the doctrine of Islam.'' He went on to say that Islam ``is not a peaceful religion that wants to coexist. They want to coexist until they can control, dominate and then, if need be, destroy.''

Hussein Ibish, spokesman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a Washington-based civil rights group, said: ``The rhetoric is exactly the same as traditional anti-Semitism. All you can do is change the word `Jew' to `Arab' or `Muslim.'''

Robertson, whose Christian Broadcasting Network is based in Virginia Beach, had no immediate comment Friday.

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