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Published: Friday, 1/28/2011

Furor over Islam fuels Southern Baptist split

NASHVILLE — The head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention has withdrawn from a coalition that supports the rights of American Muslims to build mosques in their communities.

The Rev. Richard Land, leader of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said he heard from many Southern Baptists who felt the work of the Interfaith Coalition on Mosques crossed the line from defending religious freedom to promoting Islam.

The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group, formed the coalition last year after criticism of the league's national director, Abraham Foxman, for opposing plans for a mosque and community center near Ground Zero in New York.

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