Muslim civil rights group asks military to disinvite Franklin Graham
WASHINGTON, April 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today joined in the call for Pentagon officials to disinvite a scheduled speaker who has called Islam a "very evil and wicked religion" and this morning said Muslims are "enslaved by Islam."
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The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said controversial Christian evangelist Franklin Graham is scheduled to speak May 6 – the National Day of Prayer - at the Pentagon. Military officials are considering whether to withdraw Graham's invitation after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation raised objections to his appearance.
In an interview today about the controversy on Fox News, Graham refused to revise his past comments that Islam is evil and claimed that Muslims are "enslaved by Islam."
SEE: Fox Hosts Franklin Graham Who Attempts to Convert Muslims Away from "Evil" Islam
"To have an individual who calls Islam evil and claims Muslims are enslaved by their faith speak at the Pentagon sends entirely the wrong message at a time when hundreds of thousands of our nation's military personnel are currently stationed in Muslim countries," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "Franklin Graham's appearance has the potential to harm unit cohesion and morale through the promotion of distorted, intolerant and divisive views within military ranks."
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."
In the spirit of reconciliation and mutual respect, CAIR has in the past offered to arrange a meeting between Graham and American Muslim leaders to clear up his misconceptions about Islam, but Graham never responded to those requests.
SEE: Muslim Civil Rights Group Calls for Meeting to Clear Up 'Misconceptions'
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 Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: [email protected]; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: [email protected]
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations