GOP House candidate made anti-Muslim remarks as pastor

GOP House candidate made anti-Muslim remarks as pastor
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Mark Harris, the Republican candidate in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, made harshly critical remarks about Islam throughout his time as a pastor, CNN’s KFile revealed Friday

Harris defeated three-term Rep. Robert PittengerRobert Miller PittengerBottom Line North Carolina reporter says there could be 'new crop' of GOP candidates in 9th Congressional District race North Carolina board calls for new election in contested House race MORE in the Republican primary earlier this year, but finds himself in a tight race with Democratic challenger Dan McCready, a veteran and a businessman. The Cook Political Report rates the race as a “toss-up.”

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Harris’s comments throughout his tenure as pastor of Charlotte's First Baptist Church include calling Islam “dangerous” and the work of Satan.

"There is a satanic trinity of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. Satan is always a counterfeit," Harris said in a November 2010 sermon. "Listen to me, that is why the religion of Islam is so dangerous. It is the great counterfeit of our generation." 

"If you reject Jesus and you go into the great tribulation that we're describing in Revelation 13, the Devil's not going to give you that choice," he said in another sermon that same month. "You're going to be forced to worship the anti-Christ. You're going to be forced to bow down to the image of the Beast. And you know as well as I do in some countries of the world this very morning under Islamic rule, men are given no choice, but God's given you a choice this very morning." 

In a 2014 sermon, Harris played for his congregation a conspiratorial video that claimed Islam was taking over the world and that "in a matter of years, Europe as we know it will cease to exist."

Following a trip he took to Jerusalem, Harris said in 2011 that there would be no peace between Israelis and Palestinians until they all had converted to Christianity.

“Jesus, when he went into Jerusalem, said, ‘I am the vine. I am the true vine,’ and until those that are called in Islam realize that and until those that are called in Judaism realize that, for that matter, until those that are caught in the religion of Christianity and are missing the personal relationship with Jesus Christ, realize that, there'll never be peace in their soul or peace in their city,” Harris preached.

Neither the Harris nor McCready campaigns immediately responded to a request for comment from The Hill.

It is unclear how the revelation of the comments will impact Tuesday’s race, which has remained competitive in recent weeks.

Democrats are keen on flipping the seat, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee placing McCready on its Red to Blue program. They need to flip 23 seats to take control of the House of Representatives.