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 Graham, Hinn, Falwell, Robertson, Swaggart & Baldwin

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Attack by Franklin Graham:

Franklin Graham is the son of Billy Graham -- arguably the best known Evangelical Christian leader in the U.S.

bullet 2001-OCT: At the dedication of a chapel near Wilkesboro, NC in his parents' name, Graham is quoted as having expressed essentially the same views as he later did on NOV-16 (see below). He later issued a statement to the Charlotte Observer saying "It is not my calling to analyze Islam or any other religions, though I recognize that all religions have differences. In the past, I have expressed my concerns about the teachings of Islam regarding the treatment of women and the killing of non-Muslims or infidels." 1
bullet 2001-NOV-16: According to MSNBC, Franklin Graham appeared on the NBC Nightly News, commenting on Islam. He allegedly said: "We're not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He's not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It's a different God, and I believe it [Islam] is a very evil and wicked religion." This statement is confusing because he seems to imply that Jews believe that Jesus is the son of God -- a belief that is contrary to historical Jewish belief. He continued: "I donít believe this is a wonderful, peaceful religion. When you read the Koran and you read the verses from the Koran, it instructs the killing of the infidel, for those that are non-Muslim." When asked by NBC News to clarify his statement, Graham repeated his charge that Islam, as a whole, is an evil. "It wasnít Methodists flying into those buildings, it wasnít Lutherans. It was an attack on this country by people of the Islamic faith."  NBC news contacted Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and other Christian leaders. None would would comment on Grahamís attacks. Ken Woodward, Newsweek religion editor, said: "Obviously, Mr. Graham is tone deaf in this respect. Heís certainly not his fatherís son in terms of discretion." 2
bullet 2001-NOV-19: On NOV-19, Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), sent Graham a letter stating, in part, "I would therefore respectfully request a meeting during which recognized Muslim scholars may offer you information about Islam, particularly Islam's stance on the rights of women and minorities, that is free of bias and distortions. At this time of national and international crisis, it is imperative that we come together as people of faith to promote inter-religious understanding and mutual respect." There has been no indication that he has responded to the request.
bullet 2001-NOV-20:  In his NOV-20 column, conservative Chuck Baldwin commented: "The one bright light in all of this is Franklin Graham...As you can imagine, Mr. Graham has been vilified and demonized, not only by liberals in the media but also by cowardly Christians and conservatives. However, Franklin Graham has thus far demonstrated the kind of grit not seen in a long time on the national stage: he refuses to surrender or apologize for his convictions. God bless him! He is a breath of fresh air, and he gives me something for which to be thankful because the record shows that Christians and conservatives (not to mention the Constitution) have been Bush-whacked." 3
bullet 2002-AUG: Graham "said during an interview that Muslims hadn't sufficiently apologized for the terrorist attacks ó and he challenged Muslim leaders to offer to help rebuild Lower Manhattan or compensate the families of victims to show they condemn terrorism." He followed this with a series of remarks about Islam and Muslims as he promoted his new book: "The Name." In that book, he wrote that: "Islam ó unlike Christianity ó has among its basic teachings a deep intolerance for those who follow other faiths."
bullet 2002-SEP: During an interview with, he said that after the terrorist attacks: "there was this hoo-rah around Islam being a peaceful religion ó but then you start having suicide bombers, and people start saying, 'Wait a minute, something doesn't add up here.' " 4
bullet 2002-OCT-28: commented that the "Virginia-based Family Policy Network, encouraged members to 'thank Franklin Graham for his faithfulness to Christ in the face of criticism.' " 4
bullet 2003-APR-13:According to the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a "progressive voice for American Muslims," the Pentagon arranged to sponsor Franklin Grayam at a Good Friday prayer service on APR-18. Members of the Pentagon's chaplain group issued a letter stating that: "...we are deeply dismayed and disappointed that the Pentagon Chaplain's Office has invited Mr. Franklin Graham, an extremely controversial and divisive figure, to perform the Good Friday Services at the Pentagon on April 18, 2003. Mr. Graham has made recent public statements that are not only insulting and offensive to Muslims but also to those who espouse ecumenism among the faith groups. Mr. Graham's negative statements concerning Islam and Muslims, which he has never recanted, fly in the face of what we stand for as Americans. By sponsoring and promoting a visit to the Pentagon by an extreme fundamentalist like Mr. Graham, the Pentagon Chaplain's Office is sending a message that it and the Department of Defense condone public displays of attitudes and thoughts that contradict not only Department of Defense regulations but also the American ideal of religious tolerance. We hope and pray that the Pentagon Chaplain's Office will reconsider its invitation to Mr. Graham and instead invite a more inclusive and honorable Christian clergyman to perform the Good Friday Services." 5

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Attack by Benny Hinn:

Benny Hinn proclaimed to thousands of Christians at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX that "We are on God's side. This is not a war between Arabs and Jews. It's a war between God and the devil." Several conservative Christian ministers from the Dallas area, who shared the podium, clapped and nodded their approval. Later, a few of them said that the line between Christians and Muslims is the difference between good and evil.

Most of the Dallas pastors who joined Benny Hinn on the stage refused to be interviewed or to respond to faxed questions asking whether they endorsed Hinn's remarks. However, some religious leaders reacted to the speech:

bullet Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Dallas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was distressed. He said: "The demonizing of Islam. The actual call for the elimination of Islam. It's disturbing."
bullet Ronald Flowers, a religion professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth said that the [religious] shift to the right among Christians can be traced to the same political drift toward conservatism. He said: "It's a search for certainty in an uncertain world. The fact that Muslims and Christians worship the same God seems to escape these people."
bullet J. Don George, senior pastor of Calvary Temple in Irving, TX, accompanied Hinn on stage. He said: "Our faith is in Jesus Christ, and the Muslim community does not accept Jesus and God, and therefore we're at odds with Muslims....Any religion or ideology that refuses to acknowledge the lordship of Jesus Christ could be typified as a war against Satan."
bullet Paul Mills, pastor of Arlington Faith Chapel,  said that Muslims would find Hinn's statement inappropriate. However, their complaints would be irrelevant because Jesus is the only way to heaven. He said: "The religion [of Islam] is a false religion as far as we believe."
bullet Brent Arterbury, pastor of Life Church in Haltom City, is sometimes critical with Hinn, especially over his alleged refusal to be financially accountable. But Arterbury said that he agrees that Christians are engaged in a spiritual war. He said: "From a biblical standpoint, I have to agree that there is good and there is evil. From that standpoint, I believe what he said is in line with what the Scriptures say." He added that Islam "is a very destructive type of faith....They're a revengeful people....We as Christians don't despise the Muslims. We love them. We just don't like what they stand for."
bullet Dr. Nasir Ahmad, an imam with the Muslim American Society in Dallas. He said that Arterbury's comments are irresponsible and that his statement is untrue. He added that the nature of Islam is peace. Ahmad said: "In the Torah and the Bible you can pick out a sentence, pick out many things distasteful to even the adherents of that faith....At least I have the integrity to quote the [Christian] religion correctly." He added that "There are demigod leaders in politics, religion and education that play upon the blind emotions of the masses. He's playing on the emotions of the people. Those persons [Hinn preaches to] are kept in the dark and out of light of what's really going on."
bullet "Ike" Cowell, pastor of Grace Evangelical Methodist Church in Fort Worth, said one can expect that dialogue between Christians and Muslims would involve some difference of opinion but should involve some outreach and be based on mutual respect. He said: "I would not be combative myself. I would want there to be a dialogue, to hear what they have to say. All I know about [Muslims] is what I read or hear."

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Attack by Pat Robertson:

Pat Robertson broadcast a message during his Christian Broadcasting Network news program on 2002-NOV-11. According to the media: "In his remarks, Christian preacher and conservative commentator Pat Robertson said Muslims were bent on exterminating Jews..." 8 Robertson is reported as saying: "Somehow I wish the Jews in America would wake up, open their eyes and read what is being said about them...This is worse than the Nazis...Adolf Hitler was bad, but what the Muslims want to do to the Jews is worse." In an apparent reaction to both Jewish and Muslim anti-hate groups, he said that those who had criticized him in the past -- people whom he called "so called doves" -- did not understand the situation. He continued: "If I say something that Islam is, you know, an erroneous religion, then I get criticized by the Anti-Defamation League. You just want to say: 'When are you going to open your eyes and see who your enemy is.' Those people want to destroy Jews.' " The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is arguably the most prominent and active Jewish anti-hate agency.

On NOV-12, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) denounced Robertson's remarks as consisting of "lies, distortions and outright bigotry." CAIR Spokesperson Hodan Hassan said "It's a shame coming from someone who claims to be a man of the cloth...He is doing a lot more to increase tensions and maybe violence among different ethnicities and religions than sowing the seeds of peace." Referring to two passages from the Qur'an, she said that Robertson was using them "deceitfully." She continued: "It's outlandish and a total distortion." She noted that the Qur'an contains numerous calls for inter-faith harmony and demands that Muslims respect other religions. 8

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Attack by Jerry Falwell

2002-OCT-6: Jerry Falwell accused of hate speech: The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) issued a statement on OCT-14 asking that President Bush distance himself from statements by three Fundamentalist Christian leaders: "Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson, and Franklin Graham BY NAME." The statement reads in part: "Jerry Fallwell called the founder and revered prophet of Islam, Muhammed, a 'terrorist' on CBS's '60 Minutes' on Sunday, October 6.  In so doing, Fallwell set off a firestorm in the American Muslim community to which MPAC responded.  Fallwell's comments came on the heels of a slew of other vicious  attacks lodged by the radical sector of the Evangelical Christian denomination...The Reverend Franklin Graham called Islam a 'very evil and wicked religion' and said the Qur'an, Islam's revealed text, 'preaches violence.' Pat Robertson said Islam is a 'monumental scam' and claimed the prophet Muhammad was 'an absolute wild-eyed fanatic...a robber and brigand...a killer.' Robertson's 700-Club regularly features highly inflammatory programming that promotes bigotry against Muslims." [Spelling corrected] MPAC repeatedly challenged Rev. Falwell to a public debate but, as of OCT-14, had not received any response. MPAC urges that Americans write the President at 9

Falwell's comments triggered Hindu-Muslim riots in India. At least 10 people died. 10

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Attack by Jimmy Swaggart:

At about 39 minutes into a 2002-NOV-10 broadcast, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart referred to the Prophet Muhammad as a "sex deviant," "pervert," and "pedophile." According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), "He also called for the expulsion of all foreign Muslim university students in the United States and for profiling of airline passengers 'with a diaper on their head and a fan-belt around their waist.' Of American Muslims, Swaggart said: 'We ought to tell every other Moslem (sic) living in this nation that if you say one word, you're gone.' " 10,11

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Attack by Chuck Baldwin:

In a 2002-DEC-13 attack on President Bush, religious commentator Chuck Baldwin wrote (in part): "President Bush has repeatedly demonstrated colossal ignorance of Biblical truth. The latest example of this ineptness occurred just recently as Bush gushed over the Muslim religion during Ramadan."

"While worshipping at the Islamic Center of Washington, Bush remarked, 'Islam traces its origins back to God's call on Abraham. And Ramadan commemorates the revelation of God's word in the Holy Koran to the prophet Mohammed.' "

"Does Mr. Bush not realize that the Holy Bible, not the Koran, is the one and only written revelation of God to man? Is he that ignorant of Christian teaching? Or, was he deliberately denying Christian doctrine in order to curry favor with his Muslim hosts?..."

"Even more disturbing is the manner in which Christian ministers have accepted Bush's apostasy. At the national level, only Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham seem willing to correctly identify the Muslim religion for what it is: a religion of violence and hatred....
" 12

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  1. Ken Garfield, "Graham stands by comments on Islam: But 'evil and wicked' quote doesn't cancel Christian love, he says," The Charlotte Observer, at:
  2. "Christian leader condemns Islam: Preacher Franklin Graham calls Islam 'wicked, violent,' " MSNBC Nightly News, at:
  3. Chuck Baldwin, "Bush-Whacked," Covenant News, 2001-NOV-20, at:
  4. Steven Waldman and Deborah Caldwell, "Unease With Islam; Public Opinion Shifts, As Religious Leaders Speak Out," at:
  5. "Pentagon Sponsors Franklin Graham," 2003-APR-12, MPAC, 2003-APR-12, at:
  6. W.F. Buckley, "It's the Regime, Stupid," A Way to Go column, National Review magazine, 2001-DEC-14.
  7. "Buckley puts blame on 'atheists' for being behind international terrorism!," AANEWS, American Atheists, 2001-DEC-20 newsletter.
  8. Matthew Lee, "Incitement Watch: U.S. evangelist says Muslims 'worse than Nazis'," Agence France Presse, 2002-NOV-11.
  9. "Keep Contacting President Bush Regarding Fallwell's Bigotry," Muslim Public Affairs Council, Action Alert issued 2002-OCT-14.
  10. "Bush again urged to repudiate anti-Muslim hate; Jimmy Swaggart to U.S. Muslims: 'If you say one word, you're gone'," 2002-NOV-13, at:
  11. A recording of Swaggart's program is online at: rtsp://  
  12. Chuck Baldwin, "Our Politically Correct Theologian-in-Chief," The Covenant News, 2002-DEC-13, at:

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Copyright © 2001 & 2003 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-SEP-19
Latest update: 2003-MAY-13
Author: B.A. Robinson

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