Call to view film sparks fears of hate-mongering

A  pastor’s letter encouraging people to attend the screening of a documentary called “Iranium,” which looks at Iran’s nuclear threat to the West, is stirring charges of hate-mongering in Sioux Falls.

In a letter sent March 12, the Rev. Jeff Hayes of Faith Temple Church invited people to attend the screening today at the Holiday Inn City Centre in part because of concerns he has that Islam “isn’t always a religion of peace, and it also treats its own members often times in barbaric ways.”

Hayes said he, his wife and daughter were attending an informational session on Islam two years ago at the Oak View Public Library when a Muslim upset with his questions about 9-11 said, “If you offend us or our religion, we have the right to kill you.

“I believe Islamic people are delightful people,” Hayes said Monday. “I believe some can be more radical. I consider the person who made the statement to be a more radical person. And that concerns me in this community.”

But former U.S. Sen. Jim Abourezk likens Hayes’ comments to the Florida pastor who threatened to burn the Koran on live television.

“It’s nothing more than preaching hate,” Abourezk, a lawyer in Sioux Falls, said. “By implying Muslim people here in Sioux Falls are a danger to our community, he is resorting to the kind of innuendo and allegations that are extremely threatening to people of the Muslim faith.”

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