Evangelicals and Muslims together denounce Franklin Graham’s anti-Muslim remarks

Pastor Bob Roberts Jr. speaks alongside Imam Mohamed Magid on Capitol Hill on Thursday (July 23, 2015) in response to Franklin Graham's recent anti-Muslim remarks. Religion News Service photo by Sara Weissman
Pastor Bob Roberts Jr. speaks alongside Imam Mohamed Magid on Capitol Hill on Thursday (July 23, 2015) in response to Franklin Graham's recent anti-Muslim remarks. Religion News Service photo by Sara Weissman

Pastor Bob Roberts Jr. speaks alongside Imam Mohamed Magid on Capitol Hill on Thursday (July 23, 2015) in response to Franklin Graham’s recent anti-Muslim remarks. Religion News Service photo by Sara Weissman

WASHINGTON (RNS) An evangelical pastor from Texas joined American Muslim leaders Thursday (July 23) in denouncing recent anti-Muslim comments by evangelist Franklin Graham as they announced upcoming efforts to build bridges between their religious communities.

In response to the killing of five service members in Chattanooga, Tenn., last week, Graham, son of evangelical leader Billy Graham, wrote on Facebook that the U.S. should bar Muslims from immigrating.

“I was so sad when I read the Facebook posting of Franklin Graham,” Bob Roberts Jr., pastor of NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, said Thursday at a gathering on Capitol Hill. “This is not ‘evangelical’ and even less evangelistic. I don’t want American Muslims to think we fear them or that they are our enemies.”

Roberts went on to describe the contributions of the American Muslim community to protect the rights of Christians in Pakistan.

President of the Islamic Society of North America Azhar Azeez speaks at a joint evangelical Christian and Muslim event on Thursday (July 23, 2015) on Capitol Hill. Religion News Service photo by Sara Weissman

Azhar Azeez, president of the Islamic Society of North America, speaks at a joint evangelical Christian and Muslim event on Thursday (July 23, 2015) on Capitol Hill. Religion News Service photo by Sara Weissman

Leaders from the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, among others at the event, expressed their condolences to the deceased service members’ families and highlighted the widespread denunciations of the shooting from within the American Muslim community.

“These violent acts are unjustifiable and are a gross violation especially on the 30th day of Ramadan,” said ISNA President Azhar Azeez. “This is known as a month of charity, a month of mercy, a month of forgiveness.”

This isn’t the first time Muslim leaders, Roberts and other evangelical pastors have collaborated. After 9/11, Roberts brought together a group of 12 evangelical ministers and 12 imams. He is organizing an Oct. 22 conference of imams and evangelical pastors to strengthen ties between the groups at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden, in southern Maryland.


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  • Franklin Graham was absolutely wrong if this article is accurately reporting his stance, but I wish the pastor, Bob Roberts, had enough sense to know which Muslims are true moderates and which ones aren’t.

    Like many naïve but well-meaning people, the pastor seems to assume that if a Muslim cleric condemns and even genuinely opposes violence, that automatically makes him a moderate.

    Not necessarily. One can oppose violence and still support the goals of radical Islamism. A true moderate Muslim opposes the aims as the violent means of radicalism, fully supporting American democracy and at least some form of separation between mosque and state.

    According to a number of moderate Muslims, another test for who’s a moderate is their stance on Israel. Those who support the right of a Jewish state to exist have clearly rejected the ideology of radical Islamism.

  • At this particular moment, I don’t see any problem with barring Muslim immigration to America. The problem lies in the Faith, and we have no way of identifying crazy Muslims or sane ones. We need to send a better message than Obama does.

  • I have never agreed with the Grahams but in this case they make a valid point. Time for Muslims to change their book of horror and terror aka the koran.

  • What about that other book of terror and horror — the Jewish and Christian bible? It’s full of tons of great stuff, including commands to kill and destroy other cultures.

  • What about sane or crazy Christians, or Jews? They seem to make a lot of horror and bloodshed happen in the name of their faith.

  • Graham’s proposal is certainly impractical and maybe outright wrong.

    But Graham’s critics, whether Christian or Muslim or Whatnot, had BETTER come up with some kind of real solutions around here — and they better make it quick! — because the American people really are getting tired of the Muslim shooting and bombing headlines already.

    PS…I don’t see any solutions coming from Roberts or Azeez here. The problem is NOT that there aren’t enough interfaith dialogues between Christian pastors and Muslim imams. The problem is that Muslims continue doing lethal acts of TERRORISM in America!

  • Conservative Jews in the USA have rewritten the Torah to reflect the myths therein basically making it a document of peace.

    Thomas Jefferson did an analogous rewrite of the NT. Ditto for the rewrite of the NT by the Jesus Seminarians, Professor JD Crossan in his over 20 books on the historical Jesus and related subjects and Professor Gerd Ludeman in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 694-695.

    ” Thomas Jefferson omitted it (Revelation) along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he considered it (Revelation) as “merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.”

    And in reality, the New Testament has only one major atrocity, that of god committing filicide assuming you believe in this Christian mumbo jumbo. Said atrocity should be enough to vitiate all of Christianity

  • Like many Christians I used to be scared of these mysterious Saracens who come to our country from the far Orient, but after reading more about their beliefs and the Interfaith movement, I began to see that they are not so different from us.

    By emphasizing our similairities instead of our differences, we Christians can build bridges and forge bonds of friendship with the Moslem in pursuit of our shared goals to get rid of the gays and the athiests, make the women obey and not dress like tramps, stop the Hollywood filth factory and the Planned Parenthood abortion mills, etc.

    These are the values we have in common with the supposed scary terrorists, and if we work together on those values we can have Hope Not Hate!

  • Cranmer,

    Where ON THIS PLANET are Christians or Jews spreading their faith by slaughtering non-believers?

    You’re statement proves how dumbed down the modern person surely is.

  • Well, let’s start with the Inquisition, the burning of so-called witches in Europe in the high middle ages, the Crusades, the Wars of Religion in France, the English Civil War, the 30 Years War on the continent, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the persecution and murder of the early Mormons in the US, etc., etc. — all over Christianity, its interpretation, and the authority of competing dogmas. No, there isn’t an example of conversion ‘by the sword,’ today but then again let’s look at all the Christian rhetoric that so closely follows the foot soldiers and cheerleaders of our nation’s most recent wars. Maybe you should become a more apt student of history and theology?

  • The ground-breaking work of the Jesus Seminar appears in two texts: The Five Gospels (1993) and Acts of Jesus (1998), both published by Polebridge Press. The Jesus Seminar is a group of biblical scholars chaired by Robert Funk, PhD., who took the unprecedented step of voting as a group on the authenticity of the teachings and acts of Jesus.

    “In the work of John Dominic Crossan, there is a refreshing emphasis on methodology. To this end, Crossan has compiled a database of the attestation for the Jesus traditions by independent attestation and stratification, provided by Faith Futures Foundation in the links above. Crossan in The Historical Jesus explains that his methodology is to take what is known about the historical Jesus from the earliest, most widely attested data and set it in a socio-historical context.”

    See more about the contemporary historic Jesus scholars at ,

  • Muslim-Christian interfaith dialogues have been going on DECADES in this country, from what I’ve seen. They are always positive, interesting and potentially helpful, as far as I know.

    But they absolutely do NOT stop Muslim terrorist shootings and bombings. Interfaith dialogues don’t even show up on Terrorist Radar screens. At all.

    We must stop ignoring the fact that Islam IS in fact viewed by some Muslims as justifying terrorist acts. Those nice peaceful Imams in the RNS photograph do NOT represent every Muslim currently living in the USA right now.

    No, I’m not endorsing Rev. Graham’s proposal. It’s not workable and it doesn’t recognize peaceful Muslims, of which most Muslims in America are peaceful.

    I’m just saying that we have to abandon the illusion that “Interfaith Dialogue” will magically put a stop to terror tragedies like 9-11, the Boston Marathon bombings and the mass shootings at Fort Hood and Chattanooga. That illusion is potentially fatal.

  • Why should anyone support the right of an ethnically pure Jewish state to exist? It should be a multicultural, modern state with full rights for everyone, that repents of its history of ethnic cleansing and terrorism against Palestinians. Israel should exist – but as a multicultural democracy with full rights for all, not a Jewish-supremacist state.

  • Christians sure seem to kill a lot of Muslims in the name of God – if Muslims orphaned 1 in 4 American children like Americans did in Iraq (when Bush said the Christian God told him to), then maybe we could talk about horrifying Muslim acts. Right now, Muslim terrorism against Christians is sporadic – Christian terrorism against Muslims has been going on for a long time.

    Also, did everyone forget Bosnia? The genocide was only 20 years ago!

  • al-Taqiyya:
    deception; the islamic word for concealing or disguising one’s beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies.

  • I’m sure glad we don’t have any white Christians slaughtering innocent people in our country – wouldn’t it be kind of embarassing for DocA, BB, Dominic, and Billy G’s boy. See: Columbine, Aurora, Lancaster, Newtown, Charleston, Lafayette, ….

  • Graham’s proposal is a slap in the face of American values. The idea that we take action because of claims that ___ religion is somehow evil attacks the very basis of America itself. A nation founded by many whose religion was reviled. Its one thing to limit the ingress of people from countries known to be hotbeds of terrorism, its quite another to do so on the basis of their stated faith.

    “But Graham’s critics, whether Christian or Muslim or Whatnot, had BETTER come up with some kind of real solutions around here”
    -Better gun control regulations and background checks. 🙂
    -Quit thinking there is any such thing as a quick solution to the problem of spree killings.

    According to various sources, even the shooter’s close family members living in Jordan and Lebanon were trying to steer him away from Radical Islam. Extreme political views inspire crazies buy their nature. Blaming an entire religious group in this country for the acts of a lone crazy smacks of collective…

  • One thing interfaith dialogues do is make the notion of collectively punishing Muslims for the acts of terrorists appear draconian and unwarranted. Thanks to stuff like this, there is no expectation that Muslim communities will make efforts to hide and support these people. It makes it difficult for professional terrorists to operate.

    We must stop trying to attack the entire religion as a way to combat terrorism. All it does is feed into the propaganda used to recruit more of people. It is precisely the WRONG course of action.

    Of course it would be nice if we beefed up the administrative wing of Immigration so we have more people capable of red flagging people who travel to and from nations known to be hotbeds of terrorism. Thanks to xenophobic nativists, most resources for Immigration go to ICE with precious little to those who process visas.

  • True Islam is defned by the Quran:

    Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 992
    “Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah.” Muhammad’s instructions to his men prior to a military raid.
    “Seek out your enemies relentlessly.” -Surah 4:103
    “…make war on the leaders of unbelief…Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them…”
    -Surah 9:12
    “Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]…until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued.” -Surah 9:27
    “Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home.” -Surah 9:73
    “Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them.” -Surah 9:121
    “Muhammad is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.” -Surah 48:29

    Love your enemies; share the Gospel with Muslims,…

  • Jack said nothing about “ethnically pure,” but I basically agree with you. Now will you demand that the purportedly future state of Palestine adhere to the same rules?

  • No problem? Please enlighten me on how you can possibly ban a religion from entering a country. Are we going to set up lie detector tests at all major airports? Perhaps we will have a questionnaire prepared, and all individuals traveling will be required to fill it out, much like a customs form. The problem with Franklin Graham is that even though our bible states that our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, he feels the need to battle against people, rather than principalities. What Mr. graham is essentially saying is that we should prohibit ANYONE of middle eastern descent from entering the country. Religions (such as Islam) exists outside the confines of the Middle East (much like Chrisianity exists outside the USA). I’m sure there are plenty of Christians that are of middle eastern descent that would find a law, such as the one Graham proposes, very insulting. Therefore, I raise my question again, how can you possibly prohibit a religion from entering a country? Answer: You…

  • Read Philip Jenkins’ “The Jesus Wars” to curdle your blood and open eyes.

    Even early on Christians went on rampages and killed each other over the concepts of One Nature or Two Natures.

  • You don’t read your bible much, do you?

    Gabriel made the annunciation to Mary. Gabriel spoke to Joseph.

    Or, if you read the dead sea scrolls, Gabriel was just the name of a man who took a cognate office and called himself The Gabriel.

  • Anthony,
    ” I’m not endorsing Rev. Graham’s proposal. It’s not workable and it doesn’t recognize peaceful Muslims, of which most Muslims in America are peaceful. ”

    Sounds like a very good and truthful thing to say.

  • Jefferson did not write a Bible. He wrote,” The Morals of Jesus of Nazareth”. The term “The jefferson Bible” was coined by it’s publishers,”The Smithsonian Institute”.

  • We need to limit Muslim immigration to America and quickly. Muslims and Christian Fight and we don’t need to bring it into the streets of America. Christians and Jews worship and follow the GOD and creator of the Universe, whereas Islam worships The Moon God which was originally Semiramis,” Wife and Mother of Nimrod”. They wer very evil and Rejectrd the one tue GOD. Keep them out as much as possible. They will soon show their true stripes like what is happening in Europe. Wake Up Christians and avoid Liberal Theology !!

  • Thanks for MISQUOTING the quran, and adding untrue commentary.

    I guess when muslims quote the bible, they should be as dishonest as you.

  • He specifically is talking about muslims that speak out against the oppression of Christians in pakistan.

  • Disagree with you about Israel.

    I know muslims that are praying at LBGT friendly mosques that are not fond of Israel.

    I know Muslims that speak out against separation of religion and government that dislike Israel.

    I know NON MUSLIMS that dislike Israeli foreign policy. It’s a horrible test.

  • Now you just went full retard.

    You realize, christians called god Allah CENTURIES before Islam even existed?

  • Just so you know, Islam and Christianity worship the same deity. Allah is the Arabic word/name for the god of Abraham Issac and Jacob. This is why middle eastern Christians often refer to Jesus as the son of Allah.

    In fact, there are a lot of parallels between the ABRAHAMIC RELIGIONS.

  • I think it’s awesome to see people uniting for a message of righteousness, distinguishing themselves from fear hate and bigotry. It gives me hope of a better world for future generations.

  • “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me.” …Jesus Christ The Son of God Man made religions won’t get you where you want to go. Only what God has established will matter. Jesus is the only way to God. Receive Him as Lord and Savior. Turn away from sin and man made teachings. Follow Him as He leads through His Word and by His Holy Spirit, and you will know His forgiveness, His peace and blessing, and promise of eternal life. God Bless

  • So how much for your soul?

    its a seller’s market. Self-righteous nabobs are a dime a dozen. Its not like there is much of a demand for them.

    So I can probably give you enough for a Starbucks latte. The most satanic beverage out there.

  • Bible thumping Christians and xenophobes are the best spokespeople ISIS and all the other Islamicists have. The idiots proclaiming Islam is evil and all Muslims must be punished just make it easier for them to recruit.

  • Since Islam is completely hostile to Christians and The Gospel, these so-called Evangelicals are apostate at best, and are anti-Christ at worst. They are yoking themselves to the murderers of fellow Christians.

  • Not really.

    The reality is that Islam recognizes Jesus’ miracle birth and teach about his ministry. Islam considers Jesus a messenger of God/Allah and beloved prophet. Islam and Christianity both worship the same God of Abraham Issac and Jacob, and have many parallels, many of the same teachings from the same people. They are sibling religions, both considered the Abrahamic religions. They are not in conflict.

    The radicals who commit acts of violence against Christians are blasphemous to Islam according to many Muslims and the Quran.

  • Not every ideology that calls itself Christian is worthy of that name. Roman Catholicism is a cult that has masqueraded as Christian for over 1,500 years. She and her daughters, the Protestant churches, instigated and fought those wars and supported violence in the name of Christ. Not to mention that large portions of the Crusades, the 30 Years War, etc. were political rather than overtly religious. However, their actions cannot be used to discredit Bible-believing Christianity, which shuns violence as a means by which to spread the faith. The fact is, the worst atrocities of the 20th century were caused not by Christianity or its pretenders, but by atheists (Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.) Islam comes in a close second in the propagation of violence both today and in its inception.

  • “Not every ideology that calls itself Christian is worthy of that name. ”

    Who cares?

    Not people on the receiving end of those who act badly in the name of Christianity.

    Not people who fail to speak up for those who appropriate the religion for malicious and evil ends.

    Your distinction means nothing. Just because you don’t consider various miscreants who claim to act in Christ’s name as “truly Christians” doesn’t mitigate their acts or motivations. Only that you are not honest enough to own up to the past of your own faith.

  • Just read a study stating that 80% of the people in jail declare themselves Christians. Now that’s scary!

  • As long as we are fearing each other and using religion to separate us from each other we can’t make peace on this planet. Get over your ego of being right because a book you read tells you that and work on realizing our commonalities before we destroy ourselves. Love is the way and I pray we work for peace instead of for war.

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