On October 6, Jerry Falwell's appearance in a 60 Minutes segment sparked international Islamic protest, political fallout, and a fatwa calling for his death. Christianity Today spoke to Islamic experts, Christian theologians, and observers to summarize the events and put it into perspective.
According to the CBS transcript of the program, CBS's Bob Simon asked Falwell in an interview prior to the October 6 airdate, "You wrote an approving piece recently about a book called Unveiling Islam … The authors of that book wrote, 'The Muslim who commits acts of violence in jihad does so with the approval of Mohammad.' Do you believe that?"
The question was in reference to an article Falwell wrote defending Florida pastor Jerry Vines's claim at the Southern Baptist Convention that Muhammad was a "demon-possessed pedophile." Falwell said Vines's comment was in the context of Ergun and Emir Caner's Unveiling Islam: An Insider's Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs (Kregel Publications). Falwell's column discussed the book and some of its claims.
Falwell responded to Simon's question by saying:
Muhammad was a terrorist. I read enough of the history of his life written by both Muslims and non-Muslims [to know] that he was a violent man, a man of war. In my opinion … Jesus set the example for love, as did Moses. And I think that Muhammad set an opposite example.
After intense public outcry and protests, Falwell issued a "Statement of Reconciliation" on October 12. "I sincerely apologize that certain statements of mine made during an interview for … CBS's 60 Minutes were hurtful to the feelings of many Muslims," the statement said. "I intended no disrespect to any sincere, law-abiding Muslim."
Falwell also said that he always shows respect to other ...1