The Christian communities in certain parts of the Middle East are “being slaughtered by the Muslims” and this is because Islam is “militant” and its followers “are emulating the prophet Mohammed,” a “man of war” who “killed many people,” said Reverend Franklin Graham.
Reverend Graham also stressed that religious persecution of Christians in America “is coming” and “it’s going to get worse,” adding that “we are losing our religious freedom.”
In a Mar. 8 interview on Fox & Friends Weekend, host Tucker Carlson asked Rev. Graham, who heads the international relief group Samaritan’s Purse, why the United States is essentially doing nothing to stop persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
Rev. Graham said, ““Well, first of all, after 9/11 when Iraq was invaded by our country – and I’m not saying this was right or wrong, I’m just saying it’s a fact – there was a large Christian minority. Saddam Hussein gave them quite a lot of freedom.”
“But when that government fell and the new government came to power, the Islamists in the country, al Qaeda and others, began to attack and burn churches,” said Rev. Graham. “We’ve seen that happen throughout Iraq and now it’s happening in Syria.”
“So, the Christian community is being slaughtered by the Muslims, and they’re being forced to leave,” he said. “There used to be large Christian and Jewish communities in Saudi Arabia. But over the centuries they have been exterminated by the Muslims. This isn’t something that has just happened with ISIS. This has been going on for centuries, and has been going on in Egypt.”
“When those Egyptian men [Coptic Christians] had their heads cut off, that’s not the first time,” said Rev. Graham. “ That’s been going on in Egypt for a long time.”
“So, I believe we have to be very careful and understand that Islam, the teachings of Islam are militant,” he said. “ I’m talking about, when you read the Quran, when you read the Surra, it’s very militant.”
“Mohammed was a man of war and he killed many people,” said Rev. Graham. “Jesus Christ came as a man of peace, and as a follower of Christ I want to emulate Him. But the followers of Islam are emulating the prophet Mohammed, and that’s what you’re seeing carried out.”
Host Tucker Carlson also raised the point about Rev. Graham’s recent comment that “the storm is coming” in terms of religious persecution in the United States and asked him to explain what he meant.
Rev. Graham said, “Well, I believe it is coming. I believe we're going to see persecution in this country. We've already seen many laws that have been passed that restrict our freedom as Christians. I believe it’s going to get worse, and we see, no question, gaining influence in Washington by those that represent the Islamic faith.”
President [Bill] Clinton, just a few minutes ago on your program, talked about the funds they have received [for the Clinton Foundation] from outside the United States, and many of these are from the Middle East,” said the reverend. “They don’t give that money unless they want influence; and that influence is on policy.”
“They want to influence American policy, and we’ve seen the Democratic Party turning against Israel,” he said. “Their prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] comes and speaks and many of them [Democrats] don’t even show up. The president [Barack Obama] doesn’t meet with him. Where did this come from? This has never happened before. Israel is our closest ally.”
Rev. Graham continued, “And I don’t want the Muslims out there to think I’m bashing them – I’m not. I love Muslims and I want them to know what I know: that God loves them, that Jesus Christ died for their sins, that He rose from the grave, that he can come into their heart and they can have that hope of Heaven, that hope of eternal life, the same that I have. That comes through Christ.”
“But we do have a problem in this country and we are losing our religious freedom and we're losing it a little bit day by day,” he said. “So yes, I am very concerned.”
In addition to running Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, founded by his father, the world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham.
“We are witnessing the end of the Christian presence in the east,” said Habib Afram, president of the Syriac League in Lebanon, in a report in The Guardian.
The barbaric actions of the Islamic State in Iraq have “forced out Chaldean Christians and other minorities from areas in which they had co-existed for nearly 2,000 years,” said the newspaper.
“After the Iraq war of 2003, and since the Syrian crisis began, the persecution unleashed on them – including extortion, kidnappings, murder, the ethnic cleansing of entire swaths of Baghdad, the Nineveh plains, and now much of north-east Syria, has been so vast that their very existence in their ancestral homelands is in grave peril,” said Mardean Isaac, an Assyrian writer based in England.
“We are watching a living history and all that comprises [it] disappear,” he said.