November 20th, 2009
06:05 AM ET
13 years ago

McDonnell avoids comment on Robertson’s Islam remarks

CEDAR CREEK, Texas (CNN) - Virginia Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell on Wednesday declined to weigh in on Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson’s recent claim that Islam is not a religion, but “a violent political system.”

McDonnell, though, stressed that he reached out to Muslims and visited mosques in Virginia throughout the governor’s race and will continue to do so when he takes office in January.

Muslim groups have called on McDonnell to condemn the remark because Robertson is a longtime political benefactor of the Republican, who won a blowout victory in this year’s closely-watched gubernatorial election.

McDonnell attended law school at CBN University (now Regent University), founded by Robertson, and has accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the televangelist along with appearing on his show, “The 700 Club.”

“I’ve got probably 15,000 donors to the campaign and I can’t stand and defend or support every comment that any donor might make,” McDonnell said in response to a question from CNN at the Republican Governors Association annual meeting near Austin. “I think people are entitled under the First Amendment to express whatever opinions that they may have, but I can only say that as governor of Virginia, I intend to have an inclusive administration where we bring people across the political and religious system to help us govern.”

Robertson made the comments on his show on November 9 after the shooting rampage at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas. The suspected gunman, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, is a Muslim who was critical of U.S. military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan

“Islam is a violent, I was going to say religion, but it's not a religion. It's a political system,” Robertson said. “It's a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world and world domination. That is the ultimate aim.”

When asked if he believes Islam is “a violent political system,” McDonnell said no, but he did not condemn Robertson.

“I think that there are people in various religions that do some violent things and they should be judged according to their acts,” he explained. “But I have believed that there are people of all the great religions, that can be enormously helpful in our multicultural Virginia to help them to benefit us in the state.”

(Updated Friday morning)

Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Pat Robertson
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. bill

    I wouldn't either, why is Nidal Hasans name on Obamas homeland security report as an adviser?

    Why is Obama trying to sweep this under the rug?

    America needs answers.

    November 20, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. a violent political system

    as much as I am not a follower of Robertson, as a liberal there is a lot of truth and not any follow up from muslims when an attack happens

    the muslim's silence on the attacks says a lot

    November 20, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  3. willard bullock

    i am feeling strongest belived that mc donnell bob are wrong about musilims that people are belived that misuilims are keep dangerous terroist world people are best keep from away musilims

    November 20, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. craig

    We tried to warn you about McDonnell's ultra-right wing nuttery. But Virginia didn't listen. Not even in office and already McDonnell' 'mask of moderation' is cracking at the seams.

    November 20, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. Bren

    McDonnell is very wise for everything that he is doing!!!

    Pat Robertson is right. Any Muslims who support/follow Sharia Law--cannot assimmilate and be part of Western cultures/countries-–as Sharia Law is against everything/anything that our Western countries/cultures represent.

    And, for the voters who helped to elect McDonnell-–they are probably VERY happy that they elected someone who is awake/aware and not afraid of PC---in regard to Muslim extremists and their threats on the safety of US citizens and our country!!!

    November 20, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. John, Brooklyn, NY

    The nature of fundamentalism (within any religion) is the absolute intollerance of anyone who holds an ideological view other than what has been deemed as "pure". As a result, fundamentalists are able to justify any degree of attacks on the "unpure". This is true among both Christians (e.g. Pat Robertson's statement that Islam isn't even a religion) and Muslims (e.g. Saddam Hussein's tirades against Christian infidels).

    Sadly, McDonnell (and the Republican Party that supports him) buys into the notion that one brand of fundamentalism is OK, while the other is not....which, of course, is the nature of fundamentalism.

    We need faithful people who are willing to take leadership roles...we don't need leaders who demonstrate contempt for the beliefs of people he/she determines to be "unpure"...regardless of the faith tradition.

    November 20, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. Greg K., PA

    Wow – what a ridiculously offensive and ignorant thing to say. Islam is part of the Judeo-Christo-Islam family; they share many of the same stories and have a lot of the same beliefs. This is a new low for McDonnell.

    November 20, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
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