Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., is blasting President Obama and his administration for playing politics with human tragedy around the world, specifically Christian persecution, and failing to prevent a handful of terrorists from growing into the powerful ISIS army now rampaging across Iraq.
“Whatever it is, it seems like this administration can’t find their tongue in time to actually prevent any of this tragedy,” Franks said in an interview posted online Friday by Concerned Women for America.
Franks, who leads the International Religious Freedom Caucus in the House, was interviewed about the persecution of Christians by Shari Rendall, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee director of House legislation.
Pointing out the extreme dangers Christians face worldwide, he said Obama administration officials “only respond when the politics become so antithetical to them that they have to.”
Franks cited the recent case of Meriam Ibrahim, who was sentenced to die for her Christian faith but later released. He also noted Saeed Abedini, the American pastor imprisoned in Iran; the Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria; the Muslim Brotherhood persecution of Christians in Egypt; and ISIS.
“The bottom line is if you don’t have religious freedom, there’s no hope for any other kind of freedom,” Franks told CWFA. “Religious freedom’s the cornerstone of all other freedoms.”
He said religious freedom “is fundamental and basic,” but “not everyone in the world believes that.”
He called ISIS “the most dangerous group so far that we’ve ever seen arise ultimately as Islamist terrorists.”
“They make al-Qaida, who was horrifying, look like a bunch of Cub Scouts,” he said. “They’re extremely dangerous in their desire to hurt, and destroy and torture. Of those who do not hold their perspective, Christians seem to be at the top of their list.”
He said something must be done to stop them.
“They’re incredibly dangerous. If the free world stands by and lets these monsters do what they are doing, then not only will those monsters in the not too distant future knock on our door, but we will certainly have invited them because in my judgment we have to keep in mind that there is evil in the world.”
They are not like other enemies, Franks said.
“If we’re not willing to confront, it will kind of smell fear and it will be supercharged in its attack,” he said. “I think that’s what’s happened.”
The congressman said the president has a responsibility to monitor and deter such aggression.
“I been extremely critical of president Obama and it’s primarily for that reason. It seemed like whenever there’s suffering of the innocent, whether it’s the unborn at the hands of [abortionist] Kermit Gosnell, innocent people at the hands of [Syrian president] Bashar Assad or innocent Coptic Christians in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or innocent Christians at the hands of ISIS in Iraq,” he said.
He said he and dozens of other members of the House had warned Obama in a letter of the rise of ISIS.
Listen to Franks:
“We could see the signs. We knew what ISIS did in Syria, what they did as they were moving into Iraq. It would have taken so little to prevent them from coming into Iraq it’s almost laughable, yet this administration did not exert that much initiative,” he said.
“There’s always a moment in the life of every problem when its big enough for a reasonable person to see, yet still small enough to be addressed effectively,” he said. “The reality of the world is the president was the one person who could make the difference.”
Obama’s response could have been a status of forces agreement or the arming of the Kurds at a strategic point, Franks said.
But “every tragedy catches this president by surprise. When he does realize it, he doesn’t seem on the basis of pure humanity to do what’s necessary to defend the innocents,” he said.
Even now, he said, the president “certainly has all of the resources at his disposal to prevent ISIS from advancing.”
“Unfortunately they’ve gotten very strong in light of his complete vacillation up to now.”
Franks said last month that by now, Obama’s “snide remark during his debate with Mitt Romney has become infamous.”
“Responding to Gov. Romney’s suggestion that Russia represented America’s No. 1 geopolitical foe, Mr. Obama merely smirked and criticized what he called a foreign policy from the 1980s. We now see this arrogant and juvenile response for what it is. But moments later, Mr. Obama followed it up with an additional criticism of Gov. Romney’s suggestion that we not pull out of Iraq too quickly, lest we leave behind a vacuum of power that terrorists would rush to fill.”
He said if there is “one thing as surprising as the obliviousness of this president, it is the totality of that obliviousness.”
“Truly, it seems as if there is no threat that has not managed to catch him utterly off-guard. And the sad reality is that his consistent inability to anticipate obvious danger has almost invariably led to the loss of innocent life on an massive and heartbreaking scale,” Franks said.
“As the radical terrorist group ISIS – which Mr. Obama once compared to a junior varsity basketball team – continues its rampage across Iraq, reportedly beheading children and selling women into sexual slavery along the way, a half-hearted scramble to catch up simply will not be sufficient at this point. We are witnessing a Christian genocide in Iraq and this president has a moral obligation to respond swiftly and completely to the situation his own ineptitude helped to create.”