Truthout’s BuzzFlash article describes Franklin Graham’s Islamophobia:
Franklin Graham’s latest sortie into Islamophobia occurred recently, when he vigorously opposed a decision by Duke University to allow the Adhaan, i.e. the Muslim call to prayer, to be announced from the bell tower of the campus’s Christian chapel. Graham took to Facebook to exclaim: “As Christianity is being excluded from the public square and followers of Islam are raping, butchering and beheading Christians, Jews, and anyone who doesn’t submit to their Sharia Islamic law, Duke is promoting this in the name of religious pluralism. I call on the donors and alumni to withhold their support from Duke until this policy is reversed.”
Soon after Graham’s intervention, the university reversed its decision. University officials claimed that the cancellation was based on a “credible and serious security threat.”
“Graham’s hypocrisy is glaring,” Qasim Rashid, a lawyer, speaker and author of Extremist, recently pointed out in a column at the Huffington Post.
“Here he is preventing Muslims from worshiping freely at Duke, while complaining (rightfully might I add) that Christians can’t worship freely in several Muslim majority nations. If he wants to show these despotic regimes how they should behave, he’s failed. Instead, he’s provided extremists more fodder to show how intolerant Christian leaders are. Graham mimics what he claims to hate.”
Indeed. Graham responds:
Graham later told WNCN News that while he “agree[s] with diversity … what’s happening with this country is all these religions are getting front row and Christians are being pushed — and we’re the majority — are being pushed back to the back of the room,” cnsnews.com recently reported.
That is not true. Christians are not being pushed back compared with other religions. He only feels strongly about this during the Obama Presidency, a time where constant propaganda by the most religiously extremist and conservative mainstream media recycle lies to the public on this possibility, without any evidence to prove it, that Barack Hussein Obama, given his name, is some closeted Muslim who favors Muslims over Christians.
If such false accusations were true, then the other branches of government would look into the evidence that show this President is violating the Constitution. Speaking of such a document, Franklin Graham seems extremely ignorant on what this country truly stands for. The majority has no power to receive additional privileges over other religions just because there are more of them. The Constitution is all about protecting minorities as well, which basically means respecting all people with equality, dignity and respect regardless of religion. Graham continues:
“This country was built on Christian principles, it was men and women who believed in God and believed in His Son Jesus Christ who built this country,” said Rev. Graham. “We’re the greatest nation in the history of the world. It wasn’t built by Islam, and it wasn’t built by any other group. It was those who supported and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
This country may have an important history of naturally having Christians as the early settlers that originated from Europe, but that does not automatically mean this country was built on Christian principles. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and other important documents that founded this country are written under the inspiration of a very secular and free society. If Christianity is the foundation, then we would have Jesus referenced like Mohammed is referenced in Middle Eastern nations that were built on Islamic principles. The Old and New Testament are never referenced in any of those secular documents.
Graham claims to think this is the greatest nation in the history of the world. What makes a nation great? For having the most powerful military filled with over 800 military bases outside of the United States policing and oppressing other nations with illegal occupation, the use of force, mass surveillance and bombing innocent civilians? For being the greediest and wealthiest nation on Earth where the richest 1% own and control the lives of others while half of the population is poor? If Graham ever travelled, he would know that other European nations were inspired by our Constitution, took it and started developing a higher social standard for everyone’s right to free healthcare, free education, paid leave and retirement.
Graham added, “[W]e’re the greatest nation in the history of the Earth,” he said, “and we have people today that want to destroy what we believe and what we stand for. I think the university needs to understand that the world in which we live today, we’ve been at war now 10 years against terrorists and the terrorists we’ve been fighting are people who support and believe in the Islamic faith.”
Graham needs to ask himself critical questions before opening his mouth: Why do we have people today that want to destroy us for decades? Why are we at war with terrorists? How did this problem originate? Part of answering all these questions have to do with the violent Foreign Policy of the United States. It seems to be a common response of this militarized and violent government to eliminate the enemy rather than come up with more effective and nonviolent options to suppress the expansion of terrorism. Killing terrorists and bombing other nations is only going to provide these terrorist organizations more ammunition to recruit more people who were directly affected by the terrorist activities of the United States. So, we need to stop the illegal wars and unnecessary violence. That creates more enemies, and gives more reason for nations all over the world to plan an attack on us. Part of why 9/11 happened is due to the foreign policy activities of the United States in the Middle East like their unconditional support to arm Israel with dangerous weapons.
During a 2010 televised town hall meeting, Graham called Islam “wicked” and “evil.” “They want to build as many mosques and cultural centers as they possibly can so they can convert as many Americans as they can to Islam,” Graham said on ABC’s “This Week,” politico.com reported at the time.
The hypocrisy behind such a hateful statement is that the same kinds of groups addicted to converting as many people as possible is found in all religions, not just Islam. It also exists in our hyper-militarized culture of recruiting as many young people in the military as possible through sports events like the NFL, advertising, Hollywood blockbusters and mindless first-person shooter video games like the highly popular Call of Duty franchise.
Ever since 9/11, Graham maintained his unchanged Islamophobia:
“I have not changed my opinion at all.” Viewing the activities of the Islamic State, the Taliban and Boko Haram he concluded: “This is Islam. It has not been hijacked by radicals. This is the faith, this is the religion. It is what it is. It speaks for itself.”
This is not Islam. If Graham knew or at least visited the people in the Middle East practicing Islam, he would know that the common people do not support the violence, extremism and demonization of their own faith. This religious war is really supporters of those terrorist organizations like ISIS versus those who oppose it. He should also be aware that the United States is directly and indirectly supporting terrorist organizations by arming and funding countries directly connected with them like Saudi Arabia. According to Graham’s exaggerated Islamophobic logic, the Ku Klux Klan and white suppremacists are also just practicing Christianity. If he is going to just assume the most extremist side of Islam speaks for the rest of the religion, why not Christianity? Graham concludes:
“I think it is very important that we do all that we can to try to share God’s love with Muslims because they have no hope outside of dying in Jihad. I want them to know, you do not have to die for God. God died for us. He sent His Son to die for us. We do not have to kill ourselves to please God. I want them to know that they can have eternal life.”
Franklin Graham is a pot-stirring opportunist. To score political points with his conservative Christian followers, he has lambasted President Obama on numerous occasions, including questioning the President’s faith and the country of his birth. Therefore, it is not surprising that when an opportunity presented itself at Duke University, “Graham’s Facebook fulminations,” as Religion News Service’s Aaron Griffith recently pointed out, “transformed what could have been a nuanced campus debate about religious establishment, sacred space, and pluralism into a countrywide fracas that calls to mind 1980s culture wars.”
I would like to add that Franklin Graham tries to normalize his hate speech filled with Islamophobia with sharing God’s love with Muslims. He seems to be under the impression that Muslims having to suicide bomb themselves is one of many ways he thinks Muslims do to die for God. Graham also tries to convert them, because it is part of his job as a Christian to preach the so-called truth to them. To save them. From what? Eternal torture? What a sophisticated way to control and suppress people’s potential through fear of a celestial dictator.
More coming soon as I provide a critical, self-reflective evaluation of other sources of Islamophobia from refugees to border patrol discrimination.