In response to the recent terror attack in Texas, Rev. Franklin Graham has emphasized that the "god of Islam" and the "God of the Bible" are not the same, explaining that Allah commands his followers to die for him, while the Christian God sent His only son to die for His followers.
On Sunday, two Muslim-Americans identified as Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi opened fire outside the Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest event in a Dallas suburb and succeeded in wounding a security guard before police shot and killed them. It has since been confirmed that the two men were ISIS sympathizers who had expressed interest in violent jihad. Prior to the attacks, Simpson tweeted, "#texasattack: "May Allah accept us as mujahideen."
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Graham, who is the President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, responded to the attacks, writing, "One of the Muslim gunmen in Garland, Texas, said he had come there to die, believing that this pleases his god and he would go to heaven."
He continued, "The god of Islam and the God of the Bible are not the same. The god of Islam wants you to die for him. The God of the Bible sent His Son to die for us. Jesus said, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' Only if we put our faith and trust in Him, can we spend eternity in Heaven. I wish all Muslims could know the truth. They can find what their hearts are searching for only through Jesus Christ."
Sunday's attacks were reportedly carried out in retaliation for the contest, hosted by Pamela Geller and the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which included a $10,000 prize for the best artistic depiction of Muhammad, which some Muslims consider to be blasphemous.
In turn, the event was held in response to the Islamic "Stand With The Prophet" conference held at the same Texas location several months ago that featured New York-based Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who was an alleged "co-conspirator" in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.
Speaking on Sunday, Geller reacted to the shooting by telling Fox News, "Clearly what happened is indicative of how very vital this conference was needed. The idea that there is a violent war; there is a violent assault on freedom of speech, clearly was brought home last night...We will not abridge our freedom of speech in order to not offend savages."
While Muslim leaders in northern Texas have since condemned the attacks, they have also criticized Geller for intentionally "disrupting the peace," "inciting hatred," and "hiding behind the First Amendment and free speech to insult Muslims," The Dallas Morning News reports.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Graham also criticized the organizers of the Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest, arguing that the event only served to put police at risk and "antagonize" Muslims.
"The organizers of the cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, had the constitutional right to do what they did--but just because we have the "right" to do something doesn't make it right" he writes.
"As a Christian I'm offended when people mock my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Muslims are offended when people mock their faith. I disagree with Islam. But just because I disagree, I'm not going to mock them or resort to violence. We need to show respect to people of other races and beliefs. What happened to civility and respect?"