Islam's Defenders Blast Dr. Laura for On-Air Remarks

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:04 PM EDT

( - An Islamic civil rights group wants radio talk-show host Laura Schlessinger to apologize for what the group called an "anti-Muslim tirade" on her Nov. 17 program.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it has received complaints from Muslims who believe Dr. Laura's remarks went beyond legitimate commentary on terrorism to bigotry.

Dr. Laura made the remarks while responding to a mother who asked if her 16-year-old daughter, a student at a Catholic High School, should go on a field trip to a local mosque as part of a class on "moral themes."

"This is a class on morals. What is the point of going to a mosque?," Dr. Laura responded. "You're joking of course...How many Americans have tortured and murdered Muslims?, she asked.

"I think you ought to stand up against this class and this teacher. This is despicable. You tell him you are willing to go to the mosque only if it is one that has done its best to rout out terrorists in its midst...I am so sick and tired of all the Arab-American groups whining and complaining about some kind of treatment...What culture and what religion were all the murderers of 9/11?...They murdered us...That's the culture you want your daughter to learn about?"

Dr. Laura said she was "horrified" that the mother would consider sending her daughter to the mosque.

But CAIR said it is horrified, too. In a press release, CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper said, "Dr. Laura's anti-Muslim tirade demonstrates a level of hostility toward Islam that should be of concern to her program's audience and sponsors."

Hooper said that CAIR believes "one-on-one interactions with ordinary American Muslims are the best way to dispel Islamophobic stereotypes and promote religious tolerance."

He called it a "pity" that Dr. Laura would "interfere with that learning process by dissuading a student from visiting a mosque."

CAIR itself has been accused of unfairly labeling all criticism of any Muslim as "racist" and "xenophobic," whether the criticism is justified or not.

Some critics have questioned CAIR's credibility, given its questionable ties to supporters of terrorism.