CyberCast News Service --

Home | News This Hour | News on the Web | Politics | Culture | Special Reports | International | Nation  
Commentary | Bozell's Column | Cartoons | Fact-O-Rama! | SiteMap | Site Search | RSS

More Culture News
  Top Headlines
Gates Confirmed By Senate as Defense Secretary

Iraq Panelists Spent 'Limited Time' There, Group Says

Pelosi: Baker Report Proves Bush Has Failed

Harry Reid: Bush Must Change Course

No Guarantee of Success, Iraq Study Group Says

Israelis Wary of Baker's Report

US Ties with Iran, Syria Have Rocky History

Sidebar: Road to Damascus

Democrats May Attach Conditions to War Funding Bills

Jewish Columnist Disputes 'Islam-Basher' Tag

Liberal Groups Holding Democrats to Their Promises

Congressional Black Caucus Has New Clout

And Then There's 'The Nation's Largest Minority'

FEMA Fraud Tops $1 Billion, GAO Says

Virginia's Future Seen as Firmly Republican

Virginia Attorney General Has Sights on Predators, Land Seizure Powers

Gun Control Linked to Milwaukee Crime Spike, Group Says

Activists to 'Ticket' SUV Owners in MD, DC

Gore Hawks Global Warming Theory, DVD on 'Oprah'

Vox Populi: Gore Wrong on Global Warming

Mary Cheney, Partner, Expecting Baby

Most Doctors Oppose NYC's Ban on Trans Fat, Poll Says

Taco Bell Pulling Green Onions after E. Coli Outbreak

Denying Conspiracy, Russia Pledges to Solve Mysterious Deaths

Report: Kidnapped Israeli Soldiers Could Be Dead

Marking the West Bank on Israeli Textbook Maps Hits Nerve

Israeli Leader Dismisses Palestinian Unity Government As a Ploy

Other Headlines:

Jewish Columnist Disputes 'Islam-Basher' Tag -- 12/06/2006

Jewish Columnist Disputes 'Islam-Basher' Tag
By Randy Hall Staff Writer/Editor
December 06, 2006

( - A Jewish conservative at the center of a controversy over whether the Koran should be used in congressional swearing-in ceremonies hit back at critics Tuesday, saying an Islamic advocacy group's characterization of him as a "Muslim-basher" was a "total lie."

"I've written 1,000 columns, many on the Islamic world," columnist and radio talk show host Dennis Prager told Cybercast News Service. "I have been in broadcasting for 25 years. I've studied Arabic and Islam. I was a fellow in the Middle East Institute of Columbia University, where I did my graduate work.

"And I have never bashed Islam in my life," Prager said.

Since 9/11, Prager said, he had been faced with the question by callers to his talk show: "Is Islam a violent religion?" on possibly 500 occasions.

"I have given one response, and only one, ever since: I never judge religions. I judge practitioners," he said.

Prager's comments came in response to a call by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for his removal from the governing council of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

CAIR wants him kicked off the board because he charged in a Nov. 28 syndicated column that Muslim Congressman-elect Keith Ellison's intention to take the oath of office on a Koran "undermines American civilization."

"Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible," Prager wrote. "If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."

"No-one who holds such bigoted, intolerant and divisive views should be in a policymaking position at a taxpayer-funded institution that seeks to educate Americans about the destructive impact hatred has had, and continues to have, on every society," CAIR said in a letter to the museum council chairman, Fred Zeidman.

"As a presidential appointee, Prager's continued presence on the council would send a negative message to Muslims worldwide about America's commitment to religious tolerance," the group added.

Prager was appointed on Sept. 6 to the council, which comprises 55 presidential appointees, 10 congressional representatives and three ex-officio members from the education, interior and state departments. His five-year term expires in January 2011.

"Dennis Prager's unique moral voice and dedication to the mission of Holocaust education and remembrance make him an ideal candidate to serve on the council, particularly today as we witness rising global anti-Semitism," Zeidman said at the time.

On Tuesday, Andy Hollinger, director of media relations for the museum, said in an email statement that "talk show host Dennis Prager speaks solely for himself. His statements do not reflect the position of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, whose board is not self-appointed."


As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Ellison (D-Minnesota) will not in fact take the oath of office with his hand on a copy of the Koran - or any other book - because members of the chamber are sworn in on the House floor as a group by raising their right hands and repeating the oath.

"There are no books present," said Drew Hammill, spokesman for Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

However, after the House swearing-in ritual is completed, brief sessions are held so individual members of the chamber can be photographed with the speaker. Most participants at this point reportedly choose to adopt the traditional pose of placing their hand on a Bible.

"That's a mock ceremony, so it's not official," Hammill added.

Prager told Cybercast News Service that he acknowledges the symbolic nature of the private ceremony, but argued that its meaning was the same as the public swearing-in.

"This is all symbolic, which makes it even more pointless to say [Ellison] can only take an oath on what he believes," Prager said. Nevertheless, "it's the first time since George Washington took the oath of office until today that the Bible is being replaced by another religious text."

"The central moral values text of America is the Bible," Prager added. "I'm a Jew, and I say that even though the New Testament is not my Bible."

Prager added he was "not surprised" to learn of the comments from CAIR. "I don't believe that's a moral organization," the columnist said. "It says it represents Muslims, but it has caused more friction than love between Muslims and non-Muslims."

The radio talk show host further responded to critics in a new column released on Tuesday, in which he said he wanted "no law to be passed to prevent Keith Ellison or anyone else from bringing any book he wants to his swearing-in, whether actual or ceremonial."

"It is not I, but Keith Ellison, who has engaged in disuniting the country," Prager added. "He can still help reunite it by simply bringing both books to his ceremonial swearing-in. Had he originally announced that he would do that, I would have written a different column - filled with praise of him."

And, pointing to what he called "widespread coverage on left-wing blogs," he added, "there would be a lot less cursing and anger in America."

Make media inquiries or request an interview with Randy Hall.

Subscribe to the free daily E-Brief.

E-mail a comment or news tip to Randy Hall.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.

All original material, copyright 1998-2006 Cybercast News Service.


Home | News This Hour | Politics | Culture | International | Nation
 Commentary | Bozell's Column | Cartoons | Fact-O-Rama | Privacy Policy