Evangelist Says Quran Backs Killing
Maraghy, Mary, The Florida Times Union
Byline: Mary Maraghy, Times-Union staff writer
A popular-yet-controversial evangelist from Louisiana is traveling the country preaching that the Quran, the holy book of Islam, encourages Muslims to kill.
But his conferences -- including one this weekend in Jacksonville Beach -- come at a time when national and religious leaders are emphasizing that Islam is a religion of peace and that terrorists are extremists.
"The message I want to get out is that terrorism is a fruit, Islam is the root," said the Rev. Moody Adams, a 70-year-old evangelist from Baton Rouge who admits he's no expert on Islam. Still, he has written two books on the topic and has spoken before at least a dozen congregations, including a Baptist church in Starke, since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Adams is scheduled to speak during a two-day conference at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville Beach this weekend. The church has about 350 members.
Pastors from the two North Florida churches say the timing is right for Adams' message.
"It's a blessing for us at such a vital time," said the Rev. Mike Hasha of Jacksonville Beach First Baptist, who acknowledged that some of Adams' commentary will be controversial. "I'm not concerned about that. I'm more concerned that we speak the truth in love."
But others object, including Jacksonville-area Muslims, a rabbi and scholars of the Quran.
"That's exactly what we need right now . . . I'm being facetious," said Rabbi Stephen Grundfast of the Jacksonville Jewish Center. "I think it does a disservice to peace-loving people to preach that."
Jacksonville's Muslim leader, Imam Zaid Malik, wasn't ruffled but said he plans to attend the conference to confront Adams about his misconceptions.
Malik said the Quran teaches that killing even one innocent person is akin to killing all humanity. And Muhammad, the founding prophet of Islam, taught that even in times of war, violence cannot be excessive.
Muhammad forbade the killing of women, children and the elderly, and the destruction of buildings.
Adams, who has debated atheists on American and Canadian television, has written more than 50 books about current events.
Since the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, Adams has been reading the Quran and telling people that it orders Muslims to kill in order to advance the religion and earn rewards in the afterlife. …