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Top US evangelist targets Islam


Outspoken US Christian evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson has accused Muslims of planning world domination, and said some were "satanic".

On his live television programme, The 700 Club, he said radical Islamists were inspired by "demonic power".

A US religious liberty watchdog called the comments "grossly irresponsible".                              Pat Robertson

Mr Robertson had to apologise recently for calling for Venezuela's president to be killed, and saying Ariel Sharon was struck down by divine retribution.

His latest comments were expunged from The 700 Club's website, but Mr Robertson's Virginia-based Christian Broadcasting Network confirmed them with a transcript.

'Crazed fanatics'

On the programme, the 75-year-old preacher responded to a news item about the reaction of Muslims in Europe to the publishing of cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.

The footage showed Muslims screaming "May Allah bomb you! May Osama Bin Laden bomb you!"

Mr Robertson said the pictures "just shows the kind of people we're dealing with. These people are crazed fanatics, and I want to say it now: I believe it's motivated by demonic power. It is satanic and it's time we recognize what we're dealing with".

He went on to say that "Islam is not a religion of peace", and "the goal of Islam, ladies and gentlemen whether you like it or not, is world domination".

Mr Robertson said in a statement later he was referring specifically to terrorists as being motivated by Satan.

'Gasoline on the fire'

The Reverend Barry W Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, called the comments "grossly irresponsible".

"At a time when inter-religious tensions around the world are at an all-time high, Robertson seems determined to throw gasoline on the fire," he said.

Mr Robertson, who says his programme is watched by a million Americans daily, has come under intense criticism for recent comments.

He suggested that American agents should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez , and said the stroke that left Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in a coma was God's punishment for Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

In both cases he issued an apology within days.  

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