Religious groups slam Walsh over "radical Islam" comments

August 10, 2012

By The Associated Press and City Room

(AP/File)

Religious leaders in Chicago are denouncing remarks by Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, who said there are radical Muslims in this country who are "trying to kill Americans every week."

The suburban Tea Party-backed politician made the comments at a town hall meeting this week in Elk Grove Village. Walsh said another 9/11 was only a matter of time and that political correctness on the part of government allowed the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage to happen.

Jewish and Christian leaders joined the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in condemning the remarks, saying such speech stokes fear of all Muslims and inspires hate crimes.

The group called on Walsh to apologize.

"Representative Walsh comments about the threat of Muslims are racist and hateful," Dr. M. Zaher Sahloul, who chairs the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, said at a Friday press conference.

"They endanger lives," Sahloul said, drawing a connection to the mass shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin last weekend.

But Representative Walsh says he will not apologize for what he said, and called out the groups who are criticizing him.

"They've gotta go after this radical strain of Islam which is trying to give their religion a bad name," Walsh told WBEZ Friday. "That's where they should be directing their anger."

Walsh says he thinks most Muslims living in America are peaceful.

But he says political correctness shouldn't get in the way of fighting terrorists in the U.S.