Anti-Islam preacher, disinvited by Pentagon, to speak May 6 on Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON, April 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today asked congressional sponsors of a National Day of Prayer event on Capitol Hill to disinvite controversial anti-Islam preacher Franklin Graham, who is scheduled to speak at the May 6 gathering.
[The congressional National Day of Prayer event will take place in the Cannon House Office Building from 9 a.m. to noon (EDT) on May 6. It is open to the public. Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN), Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan L. Hecht and James Dobson will also speak at the event.]
Graham, who has called Islam a "very evil and wicked religion" and claimed Muslims are "enslaved by Islam," was recently disinvited from a similar Pentagon event. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation raised the initial objections to Graham's appearance.
SEE: Army Disinvites Graham to Pentagon Prayer Day (AP)
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National Day of Prayer organizers have a history of excluding minority faiths from key roles in their events. In 2008, to become a coordinator for prayer day events, applicants had to pledge that activities they help lead "will be conducted solely by Christians while those with differing beliefs are welcome to attend." Graham is honorary chairman for the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
SEE: Prayer Day 'Hijacked' by Evangelicals, Critics Say
Evangelicals Attempt to Exclude Non-Christians From National Day of Prayer
"CAIR supports the desirable goal of bringing Americans, regardless of their faith traditions, together in prayer," said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. "However, a congressional prayer observance should reflect the best of our nation's ideals. Speakers such as Franklin Graham reflect a message of religious intolerance, rather than the more American message of differing faiths united in shared support of our nation's founding principles."
He added that Graham and his supporters are being disingenuous when they claim valid concerns about anti-Islam comments are an attempt to "stop prayer."
Saylor said: "They should be more respectful of the general public's intelligence and not seek to deflect criticism using self-serving spin and misdirection. Franklin Graham has the right to be an Islamophobe, but he does not have the right to a taxpayer-funded public platform."
In a 2009 CNN interview, Graham stated in part: "[T]rue Islam cannot be practiced in this country. You can't beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they've committed adultery or something like that, which they do practice in these other countries. . .I don't agree with the teachings of Islam and I find it to be a very violent religion."
SEE: Franklin Graham Repeats Attacks on Islam (Video)
In 2002, Graham said terrorism is part of "mainstream" Islam and claimed the Quran, Islam's revealed text, "preaches violence."
In 2001, Graham stood by remarks he made about Islam at the dedication of a chapel in North Carolina. At that event, he said: "We're not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He's not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It's a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion."
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CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor, 202-384-8857, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations