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Religious Tolerance logo

Islam and Islamophobia

Florida: Religious intolerance/
Islamophobia directed against Muslims

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Advisor to President Bush blasts Islam:

The Rev. O'Neal Dozier, 57, is a clergyperson from Broward County, Florida, an advisor to President Bush, a minister of the Worldwide Christian Church, and an appointee of Governor Jeb Bush. In the latter position, he was on Broward's Judicial Nominating Commission -- a group that selects judicial nominees.

After appearing on the The Steve Kane Radio Show at WNN-AM 1470 on 2006-JUL-07, he recapped his talk by saying: "The Islamic religion in my view is a cult. On the show I said that Islam is a dangerous religion.'' He discussed on the radio program a campaign led by himself and including other ministers to block construction of a building by the Islamic Center of South Florida in Northwest Pompano Beach. The group does not want the center for safety reasons. One of the group referred to Islam's "track record" of terrorism.

bulletLawrence Mamiya, an activist and professor of religion and African studies at New York's Vassar College was surprised by the group's action in opposing a Muslim center. He said: "For the first time, you are seeing a group of black pastors following the white fundamentalist leaders of our country.''

bulletAltaf Ali, executive director of the Florida Chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said he has tried unsuccessfully to meet with Dozier. He said: ''I want a chance to respond and refute these accusations. It appears that he doesn't have that much knowledge about Islam.''

bulletAlia Faraj, a spokesperson for Governor Jeb Bush, said: "Gov. Bush in no way shares Rev. Dozier's views on Islam. Florida's greatest strength is its diverse population, which is bolstered by the many faiths of our residents.''

Dozier was surprised by the strong reaction to his words. He expressed concern that they might impact his appointment to the Judicial Nominating Commission. However, the did not withdraw his comments. He said: "I don't look for everyone to believe what I believe, because everyone is not as astute about religion as I am. That's my life.'' 1

Dozier was later asked to resign from the Commission. He submitted his letter of resignation on JUL-09. 2

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Denigration of Muslims at a public meeting:

According to the Miami Herald, on 2006-JUL-11, about 70 dissidents -- mostly blacks with some whites and HIspanics -- held signs and marched outside Pompano Beach City Hall to protest the city's approval of city zoning approval building permit for the Islamic center on JUN-14.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, the Rev. Aaron Wiggins of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church said:

"A mosque is more needed in a community where you have Muslim people already dwelling. I believe they are trying to expand their territory. They are bringing Islam in[to] a Christian community.''

According to According to the Miami Herald, Rev. Dozier:

"...went to the podium and denigrated Islam, a 'cult' he called it, and reduced all its practitioners to stark, one-dimensional bomb-wielding American-hating stereotypes. Dozier accused ''Moooslims'' (stretching out that first syllable for mocking emphasis) of picking a Christian neighborhood where they could convert young black men to Islam. 'We don't need young black men to become more angry, to hate white men. We don't need any more violence'. Dozier's words brought shouts of 'Amen!' from the audience. His three-minute diatribe brought applause and then a standing ovation.' 2

Willie Lawson, president of the North Broward NAACP, spoke on the need for religious tolerance, of America's founding principles and on the evil of discrimination. He was booed loudly.

John Petrone, a 34-year white resident of Pompano Beach, said he supports the proposed center. He mentioned the names of names of American Muslims, such as Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Malcolm X, whom he described as a "great man." He said: "Would they deny him a church in their neighborhood? I don't think so." 3

Brendan Farrington of the Associated Press wrote:

"Dozier says black men are receptive to Islam and he doesnít want their souls to be lost. He also believes Islam uses the Qur'an to teach violence. He said black men are angry enough without being taught violence against those who donít share their believes. It could create situations like the terrorist plot to blow up the Sears Tower that the FBI says it discovered in Miami, he said."

" 'If you look at the Qur'an, all the way from the beginning to the end it speaks of evil and violence,' Dozier said. 'The problem is, I find that most people who are apologetic for Islam are those persons who have not read the Qur'an'." 4

The Miami Herald described some of Rev. Dozier's other past concerns:

"Dozier was known for intolerance long before the mosque issue. But it was his stunning denunciations of gays that brought him his earlier notoriety. And Dozier also likes to rail against the notion of a secular government. He once complained to The Daily Business Review, 'There is no such animal as separation of church and state in the Constitution'.'' 2

The Florida Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) later wrote:

"The Rev. Dozier asserts that he has the right to express his opinions -- and on that point he is correct. The U.S. Constitution protects his right to freely express himself so long as his speech isnít inflammatory. The Rev. Dozierís statements about Islam are harmful nonetheless. They also are irresponsible and flat-out wrong. He broad-brushes all who practice Islam -- and there are hundreds of millions of believers worldwide -- as belonging to a cult. Surely the Rev. Dozier and his supporters recognize that kind of blanket characterization as unmitigated bias."

"The Rev. Dozierís re marks ill-serve the African-American community that he purports to represent -- and the good people of that community should let the reverend and his supporters know that they donít condone his brand of religious bigotry any more than they would support racial bigotry." 5

We have been unable to find any indication that any non-Islamic religious leader has come to the defense of the Muslims' civil and religious liberties. To our knowledge, they have all remained silent -- a silence that many will regard as agreement with the Rev. Dozier's beliefs and actions.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Darran Simon, "Jeb Bush ally slams Islam," Miami Herald, 2006-JUL-08, at:
  2. Fred Grimm, "Religious tolerance is booed loudly," The Miami Herald, 2006-JUL-13, at:
  3. Gregory Lewis & Ana Ribeiro, "More than 60 people gather in Pompano to protest construction of mosque," South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 2006-JUL-12, at:
  4. Brendan Farrington, "Pastor appointed by Bush won't apologize for remarks on Islam."  Associated Press, 2006-JUL-12, at:
  5. "Bias against Islam: Our opinion: Community should speak out against religious prejudice," 2006-JUL-14, at:

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How you got here:

Home page > Islamophobia  > here

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Copyright © 2006 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2006-JUL-07
Latest update: 2010-SEP-09
Author: B.A. Robinson

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