(CNSNews.com) - Rev. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham and head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said “Christians are under attack by Islam” and that “radical” Islam has nothing to do with it because “it’s just what it is.”
Speaking at the Watchmen on the Wall National Pastor’s Briefing in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Rev. Graham said, “The church around the world is under attack. Christians are under attack by Islam. They keep using this word ‘radical.’ It’s not radical, it’s just what it is.”
“Let’s stand up for our brothers and sisters in faith around the world who are being persecuted for their faith,” he said. “Because if we don’t stand up for them, there’s no other voice for them. There’s no other voice.”
Graham, who is also the head of the international Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse, made his remarks on Thursday evening at the event, which is a three-day gathering (May 21-23) sponsored by the Family Research Council (FRC).
Commenting on the persecution of Christians overseas, Rev. Graham mentioned American Pastor Saeed Abedini, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity and who was sentenced to an eight-year prison term in Iran for evangelizing.
Graham also talked about Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian woman, eight months pregnant, married to a U.S. citizen, with another 20-month-old son, who has been sentenced to death in Sudan for not renouncing her Christian faith.
“We need to pray for some people,” said Rev. Graham. “We need to pray for that young lady over in Sudan who they want to cut her head off because she will not recant her Christian faith. She is no coward. That is a real sword that they want to chop her head off with.”
“Then there’s Pastor Saeed Abedini,” said Rev. Graham. “He’s over there in Tehran, I talked to his wife just this week, Naghmeh. He was in the bed hospital, shackled [on May 20]. About 50 guards came in. They started beating -- his mom and dad were in the room – started beating him in front of his parents using tasers, electric shocks.”
“Then they, these cowards, they drug him out of the bed, kicking him, shocking him, and he finally collapses before they can get to the elevator – and they’ve taken him back to prison,” said Rev. Graham. “We need to pray for Saeed Abedini that God will protect him and surround him with His angels, and those fiery chariots, need a few of them too.”
He continued, “And let’s pray that God will bring him home soon to his family, to his wife. And let’s pray that that [Sudanese] woman will come out of jail and go back to her family, the woman that they’re wanting to cut her head off.”
Saeed Abedini, who has dual Iranian-American citizenship, was arrested by Iranian authorities in the summer of 2012 and was sentenced to prison in January 2013. He reportedly has been beaten and mistreated on several occasions.
The U.S. State Department has called upon Iran to release Abedini. In Meriam Ibrahim’s case, the State Department has not affirmed that her husband is a U.S. citizen when questioned by CNSNews.com. However, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) have sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry flatly asserting that Ibrahim is “the wife of U.S. Citizen Daniel Wani.”
Rev. Graham’s remarks were part of his address “Standing Strong on the Controversial Issues,” in which he stressed the importance of pastors speaking out on controversial issues such as abortion and same-sex “marriage.”
Rev. Franklin Graham, 61, is married and has five children, and lives in Boone, North Carolina.
The Watchmen on the Wall National Pastor’s Briefing is an annual gathering of pastors from across the nation that aims to “remind spiritual leaders of our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage,” and, “inform them about the moral issues being debated in the public arena,” according to the FRC.