Rev. Franklin Graham. (AP)
Although it already has an interfaith prayer room, the Orlando International Airport is building a new $250,000 "Reflection Room" for Muslims, a facility that should be called what it truly is, "a mosque," said Rev. Franklin Graham.
He also questioned how loud objections would be if the airport spent $250,000 on a "room exclusively for evangelical Christians."
"You won’t believe this one," said Rev. Graham in an Aug. 21 post on Facebook. "A public airport in the United States spending $250,000 to open a prayer room for Muslims? Orlando International Airport is doing just that, and it’s scheduled to open September 1!"
"Let’s call this what it is—a mosque," said Rev. Graham.
"The airport already had an interfaith prayer room since 1983 (with prayer rugs available in it)—but that wasn’t enough," he said. "How loud do you think the objections would be today if they spent $250,000 in taxpayer money to build a new prayer room exclusively for evangelical Christians? Or for Jews or Mormons or any other group? Why do Muslims get preference?"
The "Reflection Room" is being added to Terminal B at Orlando International Airport and is scheduled to open on Sept. 1, which coincides with the start of Emirates Airline's flights from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Orlando, Fla. Several other international airlines also will be arriving at that terminal.
The "Reflection Room" will include a Muslim ablution area, where people who practice Islam wash their feet, hands, face, and mouth as a ritual of purification before praying. The room will also include directional signs for north, south, east and west, reported the Orlando Sentinel.
Civil rights attorney Shayan Modarres, a Muslim, said the new "reflection room" is great for followers of Islam, especially for those who "have felt isolated and uncomfortable in this country after the terrorist attacks of 9-11," reported the Orlando Sentinel. It's "a great step in the right direction, especially for tolerance and inclusion," he said. The room will be popular with Muslims, the lawyer continued, because Muslims pray five times a day.
"This is the right message we need to send," said Modarres. "It's reconciliation."
Franklin Graham, 62, is the son of renowned pastor Billy Graham. Franklin Graham runs the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and is president of the international Christian relief group Samaritan's Purse. Rev. Graham is married, has five children and lives in Boone, N.C. He regularly preaches in the United States and abroad, and often speaks about the dangers of radical Islam in the United States and abroad.