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IN BRIEF

Islamic Leader Wants Baptist Sign Repudiated

January 25, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has asked state religious leaders to repudiate a roadside sign at First Conservative Baptist Church that reads:

"Jesus Forbade Murder. Matthew 26:52. Muhammad Approved Murder. Surah 8:65."

Imam Zaid Malik of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida said the Koran verse does not endorse murder, but indicates that believers who are steadfast in battle will overcome larger armies.

The verse reads: "O Prophet! Inspire the believers to conquer all fear of death when fighting, [so that] if there be 20 of you who are patient in adversity, they might overcome 200; and if there be 100 of you, they might overcome 1,000 of those bent on denying the truth."

The Rev. Gene Youngblood said his Baptist congregation has no plans to remove the message. "Are we not entitled to freedom of speech?" he asked.

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