The upheaval in the Middle East and the rise of fundamental Islamists threaten not only the security of the United States but also the millions of Christians who call the region home, the Rev. Franklin Graham tells Newsmax.
The Arab Spring toppled long-term despots in countries such as Libya and Tunisia, and a civil war is being waged in Syria between the Sunnis and the Alawites that could spread to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Graham, son of the legendary evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, said during an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV.
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The Muslim Brotherhood is moving into the power vacuum and wants to “establish Shariah law in every one of these countries and they will roll back the clock in the Middle East.”
“So it’s a threat and it’s a threat to the United States, a threat to our security because so much of our oil comes from the Middle East,” he said. “But For the Christians that are there — and there’s something like 13 million Christians inside of Egypt —their lives are at risk. Churches are being burned, Christians have been killed but it rarely makes the news in this country. So I fear for the church in the Middle East. I have many friends there, I have been working in the Middle East for years and I spoke to one of the pastors today from the Middle East he called me from northern Iraq very afraid as to the situation in their county.”
Graham’s comments reverberate even as Egyptian troops and protesters clashed again today in Cairo for the third straight day, pelting each other with rocks in skirmishes near parliament in the heart of the Egyptian capital. At least 10 protesters have been killed and 441 others wounded in the three days of violence, according to the Health Ministry. Activists say most of the 10 fatalities died of gunshot wounds.
Also today, about 30,000 Islamists in Pakistan staged a protest to condemn the United States and show support for their country's military. Pakistan's military was humiliated by the unilateral U.S. special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani town in May, facing unprecedented public criticism.
But many Pakistanis rallied behind the military after a Nov. 26 cross-border NATO air raid killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, and plunged already troubled ties with Washington to a low point.
Another threat in the region is Iran’s rush to acquire nuclear weapons, which some see as a prelude to fulfilling the biblical prophecy of Armageddon, said Graham, a noted evangelist in his own right and president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse.
“They’ve already said that they’re going to use them,” he said. “If we don’t stop them then Israel will be forced to stop them. I’m afraid the Iranians are going to use their nuclear weapons against Israel when they have them. I believe it’s a real threat.”
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