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Evangelist: Radical Muslims 'Satanic'

Evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson said Monday on his live "700 Club" television program that Islam wants to take over the world and is not a religion of peace, and that radical Muslims are "satanic."

After watching a news segment about radical Islam in Europe, Robertson remarked that the outpouring of rage elicited by cartoon drawings of the prophet Muhammad "just shows the kind of people we're dealing with. These people are crazed fanatics, and I want to say it now: I believe it's motivated by demonic power. It is satanic and it's time we recognize what we're dealing with."

He also said that "the goal of Islam, ladies and gentlemen whether you like it or not, is world domination."

Robertson has come under intense criticism in recent months for comments suggesting that American agents should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for pulling Israel out of the Gaza Strip.

Robertson's Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network removed the comments about Islam from the version of the program posted on its Web site out of concerns they could be misinterpreted if taken out of context, said Angell Watts, a Robertson spokeswoman.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which monitors "The 700 Club" daily, released a written transcript of Robertson's remarks. CBN confirmed the remarks with its own transcript.

Watts said Robertson made his comments following a CBN News story on radical Islam in Europe in which some called for the "nuking" of Denmark and the violent overthrow of other European governments.

"When you watch the (news) segment, isn't it very clear to you that he's talking about radical Islam?" Watts said in a telephone interview, noting that the segment included comments from a moderate Muslim in the United Kingdom saying radicals do not represent most Muslims in that country. "It's very obvious that we pointed out that it's about radical Islam and terrorists."

On Monday, Robertson also said of Islam: "These people are saying it over there in Europe, world domination. 'We're going to take over Europe, we're going to take over England, we're going to take over Denmark, we're going to take over France.' That's their goal. And why don't we wake up to the fact of who we're dealing with? And by the way, Islam is not a religion of peace."

Asked why Robertson said Islam is not a peaceful religion, Watts said, "At its core, he does not believe it is (peaceful). He's talking about fundamentalists, not moderates."

The comments were similar to remarks he made on his program in 2002, when he said Islam "is not a peaceful religion that wants to coexist. They want to coexist until they can control, dominate and then, if need be, destroy."

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, called Robertson's latest comments "grossly irresponsible."

"At a time when inter-religious tensions around the world are at an all-time high, Robertson seems determined to throw gasoline on the fire," Lynn said in a statement.