A national Islamic civil liberties organization and a conservative radio talk show host are squaring off over the host's on-air reference to Islam as "a terrorist organization."

Michael Graham made his remarks on his Monday (July 25) show, which airs on WMAL-AM in Washington, D.C.

"The problem is not extremism, the problem is Islam," Graham said. "We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based group, called on the station to reprimand Graham for the comments.

"Such hate-filled and inflammatory remarks only serve to encourage those who would turn bigoted views into violent or discriminatory actions against ordinary American Muslims," said Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's communications director, in a statement urging "people of conscience" to contact the station and demand an apology or disciplinary action.

The station's operations director, Randall Bloomquist, said he has received more than 100 e-mails from Muslims criticizing Graham. A report posted on the station's Web site says "Graham's comments are justified in the context of a radio talk show, and he (Bloomquist) is standing behind Graham."

Graham has declined to comment on the controversy outside of his on-air comments, but he posted a column on the WMAL Web site that reiterates his position.

"The reason Islam has itself become a terrorist organization is that it cannot address its own role in this violence. It cannot cast out the murderers from its members," Graham wrote in the column.

CAIR's Hooper said that in the absence of an apology or reprimand, his group is urging members to contact the station's advertisers to express their concern about Graham's program.

Hooper also said that in a conversation with Bloomquist, he was told that WMAL would not allow ethnic slurs, such as anti-Semitic epithets or the "N-word," on programs.

"It seems the only form of bigotry that's accepted by WMAL is anti-Muslim bigotry," Hooper said.

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