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Black Megachurch Pastor Dropped From Panel over Islam Comment

Republican gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist has removed a pastor who once called Islam a 'cult' from his policy council.
( [email protected] ) Sep 29, 2006 12:18 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Republican gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist has removed a pastor who once called Islam a "cult" from his policy council.

The Rev. O'Neal Dozier was taken off the "Strengthening Florida's Families" advisory panel Sept. 22, said Erin Isaacs, a spokesman for the candidate.

The Crist campaign said in a statement that the nominee respects Dozier's right to express his political and religious beliefs, but he does not agree with Dozier's views on Islam.

"Charlie Crist believes that we must not confuse those who practice any religion with a prayer toward peace with extremists who pervert religion to further a radical cause," the campaign said.

Dozier, who has led the fight against a mosque moving to a predominantly black section of Pompano Beach, had been one of Crist's key African-American supporters.

The pastor of Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, Dozier was told he was being removed from the council "because of the pamphlets I've been passing out in the area where the Muslims want to move."

Dozier had previously said that Jesus told him Crist would be the next governor.

"I am really hurt about it," Dozier said. "There's no place for those who want to do the work of God in politics. Politicians want you to support them, but they are not going to support you."

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