The Rev. Franklin Graham, son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, said Thursday President Barack Obama can apologize for the accidental burning of Qurans in Afghanistan yet he is doing nothing about a war on Christians spreading throughout the Muslim world. Graham referred specifically to a 34-year-old Christian pastor and father of two who is set to be executed in Iran because, under Islamic law, he is considered a convert from Islam.
“There's millions of Muslims out there that don’t agree with this — they’re wonderful people, Greta — but they’re under the system of Sharia law [that] they can’t get out from under because the law— the Quran — demands if a person leaves Islam, they are to be killed,” Graham told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “They’re given a chance to recant . . . but if they don’t recant, if they don’t denounce their faith, like this man was told to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ, but he refused to do it. And so therefore, they're going to hang him.
“According to the court records, what we can determine, he never was a Muslim — his parents were Muslim and he [became] a Christian — I think it was at age 19 — and what they have charged him on is apostasy under Islamic law,” Graham said. “But since he hadn’t been a Muslim, they are going hang him anyway because his parents were Muslim.”
Van Susteren said there is probably nothing the United States or President Barack Obama can do for the pastor, because relations with the Iranian regime are so volatile. Graham — whose aid group, Samaritan's Purse, is helping displaced Christians in the Sudan — disagreed.
“The president could call for a prayer meeting at the White House. He could make a statement. We apologized to the Afghans because a Quran was mistakenly burned . . . and he apologizes to the Afghans after an Afghan soldier killed two Americans,” Graham said. “But why doesn’t he speak out? He could. He could use the power of the White House to call pastors together at the White House and have a prayer meeting for this guy, but he hasn’t done it.”
Van Susteren noted the Iranian pastor’s situation is not unique and Newsweek reported this week there is war on Christians spreading throughout the Muslim world and referred specifically to the Sudan.
“We have people in the Sudan right now — they’re being bombed — it’s almost every day. They’re bombing civilians, not military targets, they’re civilian targets. And it’s because — many of them — it’s their faith in Jesus Christ,” Graham said. “And the world is saying very little about this, Greta. And it breaks my heart. A few years ago, the Muslims burned over a thousand churches in the south Sudan.”
Graham said Obama could bring the two sides together in the Sudan, where a war is raging between Christians and Muslims, just as President Jimmy Carter did at Camp David when he convened a meeting between the leaders of Israel and Egypt, which led to a peace treaty. He said the United States has to be engaged.
“I think both sides want peace, and they’re weary of it,” Graham said. “But if someone like our president — and I think he could do it — brought them here to Washington and sat down at Camp David and hammered out a peace deal, this thing could be solved.”
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