Muslims in Britain are urging their government to ban evangelist Franklin Graham from entering the United Kingdom, contending the son of the late evangelist Billy Graham has made “Islamophobic and homophobic statements.”
Graham, the CEO of the humanitarian group Samaritan’s Purse and also the Billy Graham Association, is scheduled to speak at a Christian festival this month in the Northern England city of Blackpool.
But the Muslim Council of Britain, joined by three Parliament members, wants the British Home Office to revoke his visa on the grounds of “hate speech,” reports the Guardian newspaper of London.
“In the past the government has banned individuals whom they claim are ‘not conducive to the public good,'” the Muslim organization said in a statement. “Mr Graham’s remarks are on record and clearly demonstrate a hatred for Muslims and other minorities.”
The MCB said it “would expect the government to apply its criteria here.”
“If it does not, it will send a clear message that it is not consistent in challenging all forms of bigotry.”
Among the complaints, according to the Guardian, is that Graham has called Islam “evil” and “wicked,” and said Satan was the architect of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.
Fiyaz Mughal, the founder of a group that monitors “Islamophobia” in the U.K. called Tell Mama, told the Guardian it was shocking that Graham was being given a platform.
His views are “regressive and need to be challenged,” he said.
The event, the Festival of Hope, opens Sept. 21. It is organized by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and and has the support of than 30 local churches of various denominations.
The Guardian said that in July, the local Blackpool Transport and Stagecoach canceled advertisements on its buses promoting Graham’s appearance at the festival. The company cited “heightened tensions” and said the ads were not “consistent with our company values.”
The British Home Office declined to comment to the Guardian on Graham’s visa application.
‘War of religion’
In 2016, Graham criticized Pope Francis for claiming that while the world may be at war, the conflict has nothing to do with religion.
“It most certainly is a war of religion,” Graham said.
Last year, he urged people to pray that God would give wisdom to President Trump and others in Washington to deal with the threat posed by Islam.
“Since 9/11, I have been warning America about the dangers of the teachings of Islam,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “Followers of Islam are taught very troubling passages that encourage them to murder and maim those they refer to [as] infidels, or nonbelievers.”
He said that with the advent of the internet and social media, “radicalization is only increasing – and the dangers are continuing to increase.”
“Many times, sadly, it is the young who are pulled into these teachings that encourage murder and rape in the name of the god of Islam,” said Graham.
He cited the terrorist attacks in London that year in which Muslim jihadists mowed down pedestrians with a van on London Bridge and then went on a stabbing spree in nearby pubs, killing at least seven and injuring 48.
The attacks were by “Muslim men who said this was for Allah,” Graham said.
“That is three Islamic terror attacks in London in less than three months. The threat of Islam is real. The threat of Islam is serious. The threat of Islam is dangerous. There is cause for concern, despite what some may say,” he said.
In January 2017, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim-rights group designated by the Justice Department as a terrorist co-conspirator, called on Donald Trump to drop Graham as one of the clergy members leading prayer at the inauguration ceremony.
In a press release, CAIR referred to Graham as a “notorious Islamophobe.”
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad, among the Hamas operatives who founded CAIR’s parent group, said “Graham’s ill-informed and extremist views are incompatible with the Constitution and with American values of religious liberty and inclusion.”